As the nights draw in, pay a visit to one of the most northerly and remote bookshops in the UK, the tiny Stromness Books and Prints. The shop is too small for events, in winter customers are few and far between, and they don’t even have running water, but this all helps make them a model of independent bookselling against the odds.
Het Fort van Sjakoo, in central Amsterdam, is named after a Dutch Robin Hood-type figure. Sjakoo famously escaped from prison and fled with his gang of thieves to a heavily fortified hide-out in central Amsterdam. The collective that runs the bookshop today have built their own anti-establishment fortress, providing a refuge for people interested in anything that goes against the mainstream.
You can read more about their extraordinary story in this month’s bookshop profile.
Scandinavians’ progressive gender politics, egalitarian welfare policies, and transparent government are the envy of left-leaning citizens the world over.
December’s bookshop profile – the Studenterboghandelen at the University of Southern Denmark – will only increase our idealisation of Nordic societies. University education is not only free to Danish students, but they also receive a stipend from the government each month, meaning, in theory in least, they have money to spend on books. Does it add up to a Utopian bookselling experience for Danish campus bookstores?
Find out more about the Danish campus bookstore experience here.
Who on earth would open a left-wing bookshop in one of the poorest cities in the UK, during a global recession? This month we introduce Ross Bradshaw, who tells the story of how he came to set up the Five Leaves Bookshop, the only city-centre independent bookshop to open in the UK this century.
Click here to read more.
Simon Armstrong has one of the most coveted jobs in the book buying world. As book buyer at the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, he has a gloriously cavernous space to stock and 5 million visitors every year. But, as Simon explains in this month’s bookshop profile, as a commercial enterprise in a cultural setting he grapples with a series of unique challenges, among them the risk of turning the gallery into a supermarket.
Click here to discover more about the Tate Modern bookshop, October’s bookshop of the month.
We’re excited to introduce a new feature at bookscombined.com, profiling the brightest and best of our region’s independent bookshops. September’s bookshop of the month is London’s pioneering Gay’s the Word, the UK’s first dedicated lesbian and gay bookshop.
Click here to read more about their unique story.
In February 1963, the year he died, John F. Kennedy is reported to have said,
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
This blog exists because we think big ideas matter. After 26 authors, over 100 books, 4000 visitors and nearly 10 000 page views, we’re taking a break from posting in August. Come back in September to discover more big ideas, our new look, and a brand new feature that showcases independent bookshops across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Until then, happy reading!
The image featured in this post is by Chris Christian.