Inspiring Older Readers
A Festival of Books, Chipping Camden
A Festival of Books is a specialist independent children's bookshop tucked away in the chocolate-box-pretty town of Chipping Camden. The shop is located off the High Street in a newish-looking arcade and, although it's easily accessible, I always worry about the kind of footfall a place like that might get. The shop has been open for about 18 months however and seems to be flourishing so it seems that once people know they are there they get plenty of return business.
The shop is a real delight once you go in. Although the building itself is very utilitarian and so doesn't have that fundamental character many older properties have, the owners have made the very best of it. It's attractively decorated with posters and cardboard stand-ups of classic children's characters and tumbling with books. The stock is beautifully presented but what makes it a real treat is the fantastic selection of titles that they keep.
Independent shops can make a real difference when it comes to making new, unusual or even experimental titles available to a public usually starved of this kind of stuff. Go into almost any Waterstones and you'll find a pretty narrow selection of new titles - understandably they tend to focus on books that will turnover quickly and in volume. But shops like A Festival of Books need to pull in customers by being different and really loving the stock they sell. Well, I would say that in this case they've really got it cracked. The thing that jumps out to meet you is that the owners of this shop are dedicated to the love of children's books and they select what they are going to sell with real care - this clearly isn't about shifting merchandise or just turning a profit but about spreading the word on books.
We loved our visit, spent some money and we'll certainly be going back. If you're a lover of children's books - what are you waiting for?
Also, take a look at their website on this link.