Your bookshops #13, Oxfam Bookshop Hereford

When Twitter friend Catherine volunteered to write a post about her local bookshop I was thrilled. Not only is it an area of the world I know and love, it's also a bookshop I've actually visited (although sadly before my bookshop blogging days, hence it's until now absence from here).

Oxfam Bookshop Hereford
36 Broad Street,
Tel: 01432 279527
Published: 24th February, 2016

Despite Hereford being close to Hay-on-Wye, town of books, I always felt it was lacking a bit in the bookshop department. For months after I arrived, I could only find Waterstones. For a town so close to Hay, I always wondered why there wasn’t an independent or second hand bookshop hiding somewhere.

Whilst searching online for bookshops in Hereford, a Facebook post from historical fiction writer Anne O’Brien popped up. She had visited the Oxfam Bookshop in Hereford and picked up some medieval history books for her research. Well, that was it – if authors use it to research novels, I must certainly pay it a visit! I was spurred on to visit the shop and pick up one of Anne’s books. 

As soon as I arrived, I got to see an example of great customer service from local shops: a customer was about to leave, when she asked if there is a sewing shop nearby. She had searched for it with no luck and couldn’t remember the name. The young man serving her had no idea, but rather than leave it with a ‘Sorry, I don’t know’, he calls up his manager on the phone to ask. The manager then comes up herself to help figure out which shop she means and then direct the woman. There is also a large sign on display that encourages you to ask if you can’t find anything, as they are more than happy to check the storeroom. It gave the impression of a friendly bookshop with a good local knowledge. They were aware of Erica’s blog* and happy to let me take photos. 

There is an amusing sign at the till, next to the bell:

It is a narrow shop, but goes quite far back. Real effort has been made to maximise sales. The window display was themed on sewing and at its centrepiece was an old sewing machine. 

As you enter the shop, you are confronted with bright and easy to read sale shelves and the rest of the shop follows suit with a well organised system. I found my book in seconds, which was a shame to be honest – I should have spent more time lingering as there is plenty of light and space to peruse the diverse stock. There is even a comfy looking sofa to settle down on. 

The manager was curious to find out why I visited, to help understand customers better. She was keen to promote Oxfam’s work – giving me leaflets emblazoned with ‘We won’t live with poverty’. 

An interesting element to the shop was a large collection of sheet music, alongside vinyl – a highly popular section in Hereford, the manager informed me. 

Oxfam Books Hereford can be found at 36 Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AR. They are keen for vinyl and book donations to add to their collection. 

Myself, I picked up an Anne O’Brien book as I planned, called The Forbidden Queen and am already racing through it.

Thank you so much to Catherine for taking part in #YourBookshops and sharing a very enjoyable bookshop visit. For those interested in finding out more, Catherine's blog can be found here, and her review of the book purchased is here.

*Erica's note: *blushes*

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