Inspiring Older Readers

posted on 10 Jan 2017

Minster Gates Bookshop, York

The name of this bookshop will give you a clue to its location - tucked just around the corner from the famous York Minster and nestled in the shops of the Minster Gates thoroughfare. I've been to the shop several times and I'm always delighted by its quaintness - this really is a quintessential old-fashioned bookstore frontage that wouldn't be out of place in a Victorian drama. There are usually books on shelves outside the shop if the weather permits and the front window is a welcoming riot of colourful jackets and prints.

What will strike you immediately about this shop is just how constrained they are for space - the footprint of the floorspace on each level isn't generous but fortunely there are a number of floors to explore. The shop mixes second-hand and antiquarian with well selected new but remaindered stock - most of which you'll find downstairs. Understandably most of the real collectible stuff and the illustrated volumes are kept in the front room where the till is located and you'll need to get used to using book steps to get to some of them. There are also some 20th century first edition fiction and literature collectibles here too.

There has always been a good buzz in the shop whenever I've been there - I suppose its location ensures that there will constant passing trade from tourists and this helps give the shop a feeling of being well used. You wont find the prices for the remainders or bog-basic reading copies prohibitive but I did think that some of the prices on the more collectible stuff was top-end. But that's hardly surprising I would guess because rents here must be astronomical.

Visitors to York will find this a must-visit if you're into books - its worth it for the experience even if you don't end up buying anything.

Terry Potter

January 2017