I'd done the odd two-bookshop days, but in September 2013, when this blog was barely a month old, I visited eight in one day. Technically alone, I had thousands of people keeping me company in my phone as I tweeted my adventure, and from that moment on I knew I'd always love bookshop crawls and the joy of sharing the bookshop love with anyone who cared to join in.
This year wasn't quite as ambitious as some previous years have been, but there were two very specific reasons for keeping things small:
1. Bookshop Day conveniently coincided with the official opening of a new indie.
2. I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to take part in bookshop day if you don't live in London or in the same town as an indie.
More about point 1 later. As for point 2:
Over the years, the one sad thing about sharing my bookshop crawls has been the regular (but thankfully not large) number of replies along the lines of 'I can't take part because I'm not in London' or 'I can't take part because there isn't an indie bookshop in my town'. Now I admit the latter can be difficult for people in remote areas and/or who are reliant on public transport, but both of those complaints apply to my home town and in the course of one afternoon I still managed to comfortably drive to three different independent bookshops.
Sevenoaks Bookshop is another place I've previously visited, but not since a change of ownership. I loved it the first time around, so was a little nervous about returning for fear it might be different (it wasn't) and also out of shame at how long it's been since I last visited the nearest bookshop to where I live (hopefully the variety of bookshops appearing on this website explains the reason). I needn't have been concerned. Having been taken over by someone previously employed by the bookshop, all continues to be good here. I was also pleased to see how well my boyfriend took to our 20-minutes away local.
Our third destination saw us driving for a little longer as we headed over to Faversham, a town I've previously visited and loved for its secondhand bookshops, and somewhere I can now say I love for its new bookshop.
Cerys Matthews on Radio 6.
We really enjoyed our time here and both agree Top Hat & Tales is an excellent addition to the town's bookshopping offering. I look forward to returning soon so I can buy and then take my hat off to it.
So ended one of the shortest bookshop crawls I've ever been on. Short but sweet and all the other phrases that emphasise quality over quantity. The main aim being to hopefully encourage a few others to realise that a bookshop crawl doesn't have to be epic to be worth doing and – most importantly – if you're willing to travel to your nearest indie bookshop it'll definitely be worth the effort.
22 High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 3AW
Tel: 01342 322669 @JohnPye7
147 High Street, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1XJ
Tel: 01732 450933 @7Oaksbookshop
Top Hat & Tales
110 West Street, Faversham, Kent, ME13 7JB
Tel: 01795 227071 @FavHatshop