Inspiring Older Readers
Draycott Books, Chipping Camden
Draycott Books really feels like the archetypal traditional second-hand bookshop. Located in a picture perfect Cotswold town amongst honey-coloured stone buildings and shops that have one eye on the local population and another (maybe bigger) eye on the waves of tourists that pass through, the shop feels very much part of the community and identity of the place.
You'll find Draycott Books in Sheep Street ( is there a market town in Britain that doesn't have a Sheep Steet?) and its double-front provides plenty of space to display examples of what you'll discover inside. I tend to find that the windows are a good place to start with any bookshop because if they are well looked after and thoughtfully selected you can usually bet that you're going to find the same inside. I'm glad to say that I wasn't disappointed in this case and as soon as you stepped inside there were books bursting off the shelves everywhere - but not in a neglected sense but just higgledy piggledy enough to give a sense of abundance.
The shop isn't huge inside - or maybe the amount of books has the effect of shrinking the sense of space - but it's been well organised and there's logic in the way the stock has been shelved. As is usually the case, if you gravatate closer to the desk where the till is located you'll also find the better and more expensive collectibles. There was a good collection of larger illustrated books - some of them a bit older - but the stuff I would most have liked to browse was actually in a glass-faced cabinet behind the desk and pretty inaccessible. That's really my one gripe about this shop - I'd very much like the collectibles to be in a bigger cabinet and in a place where I can look at them without feeling I've got to interupt the owner or be constantly scrutinised as I browse.
The main body of the shop has some pretty good stock and i would guess that there's a more than evens chance you'll find something to go away with. I would say that the prices are at the upper end without being unreasonable - I can imagine that overheads on a shop here in such a tourist centre must be pretty punishing and so prices inevitably have to reflect that. I think, however, they try and be fair and what they are asking wouldn't deter someone from buying if they found the right thing but I guess they might just put off the casual impulse buyer. It is possible, of course, that I'm a bit of a cheapskate.
Anyway, I think you'd be able to spend a very pleasant hour or so here if you were looking for a good browsing experience and I suspect there are plenty of bits and pieces I missed first time around that require me to go back again with a fresh pair of eyes and have another go.