Inspiring Older Readers
Griffin Books, Penarth
On a recent trip to Cardiff we took the local train out to the affluent seaside suburb of Penarth - and what a delightful little place it is too. The shops reflect the well-heeled middle-class populace and there are plenty of tea shops, a Victorian arcade and an art gallery we didn't get to (next time hopefully). We were particularly impressed by the public library housed in a charming Victorian building and which has a lovely children's section you access down a staircase decorated with a wonderful mural to help set the atmosphere. Penarth can also boast Griffin Books a small, independent bookshop on the corner of the entrance to the arcade.
It's only a small shop and they have tried to cater for as broad a clientele as they could possibly accommodate - which means there are no real specialist or expanded sections and there is an emphasis on paperback stock which will turnover reasonably quickly. There are, however, new release hardbacks here too and the children's section had some unusual stock we hadn't seen elsewhere - which is always a treat.
The shop has a nice atmosphere and the customer care was very good - we recieved a bright welcome and it was clear that there was plenty of repeat local business if the banter between the booksellers and the customers was anything to go by. There's very little to criticise here but we did think that the window display could do with a rethink. Curb-appeal is always important and we didn't feel the big picture windows of the shop were doing it justice - part of the problem might have been the odd decision to hang a sort of quasi-clinical, toothpaste green set of curtains as the dispaly backdrop. The association with hospitals was more than a little off-putting.
You probably wont go to Penarth primarily as a book buying visit but if you're heading for the pier pop in and pay them a visit.