Inspiring Older Readers
Westbourne Bookshop, Bournemouth
Even though I had only seen a picture on the internet, I must confess that this is a bookshop that I coveted when it went up for sale a couple of years ago. I was convinced that the picturesque frontage with its bay window and traditionally ornate shop sign is charming enough to make passers by stop in their tracks. Despite living in Bournemouth several years ago and now visiting there regularly, I have never been to Westbourne. It is a delightful, rather well heeled area a short walk away from the sea with a busy High Street full of interesting independent shops and cafes.
Stepping inside the shop at long last did not disappoint as it is a beautiful airy space with a high ceiling and a very friendly atmosphere. Of course it is what is inside that matters most and I immediately headed to the back of the shop to the children's section which was attractively presented. As is often the case in independent bookshops, it had an eclectic selection including a few that I just had to buy. There is also a small back room stocked with educational toys, puzzles and calendars. The rest of the book stock was organised into the usual sections and seemed to be a good mix of bestsellers and more esoteric titles. There were a few other people happily browsing and it had the feel of a place where you would be made welcome whether you bought anything or not - excellent.
All that was needed to achieve full marks was a friendly bookseller and when I went to pay for my books, he was there smiling and willing to answer my questions. He told me that his family had bought the shop in 2015 and also owns a sister shop in nearby Wimborne Minster and that he lives in Swanage where there is a bookshop that he strongly recommends. I will definitely be investigating next time I go down to Dorset and of course returning to this one again regularly.