Your bookshops #7 Warwick Books

Faye is a script and screenplay writer and is working on her first visual installation. She likes kindness, northern comedies, Tilda Swinton and can not abide the phrase 'due process'. Best of all (in my eyes) she's written about her experience of Warwick Books...

24 Market Place, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 4SL
Tel: 01926 499939
Published: 5th November 2015

Warwick is a proper English town. It has a strong community that really believes in local businesses and the town is dotted with independent shops which are a joy to explore. One of my favourites is Warwick Books, set up in 2004, it's right on the square. It is everything an independent should be, with quirky winding stairs and a maze of little rooms with wooden shelving from floor to ceiling stocking not only best sellers but some little known titles and beautiful coffee table books. 

It was Christmas 2014 and I called my friends Mog and Pauline, who had been living for some time in Pauline's native France. Mog is Warwick born and bread and a trained theatre designer, Pauline has had various leadership roles in charities. So you can imagine my shock when they announced they were moving back to Warwick to buy the bookshop... 

They had been in the shop just eight weeks when I first visited. I was unsure quite what to expect. This was a departure from anything they had ever done before and in these days of bargain books in supermarkets and dreaded tax-dodgers Amazon, bookshops are struggling. 

I arrived to find Mog deep in conversation with an elderly gentleman about local history books, he squeezed her arm and thanked her as he left with two titles and one on order. Pauline had popped out of the back office where she had been ordering titles for the Warwick Words festival they are involved in and was reading her beloved Little Prince book to a small child so her mother could browse undisturbed, dropping in the odd French word so the little one was left mesmerised. 

They have had the shop now for approaching a year. They have expanded the stock, revamped the website and social media, won two national prizes for their window displays and a grant to revitalise the children's reading area. Their events go from strength-to-strength and they are now working in partnership with other local businesses to offer 'book experiences' – including baking with GBBO'S Richard Burr. 

I visited again last week to collect a number of titles I had ordered. I came away with two more. Mog and Pauline have retained the charm and character of Warwick Books and kept it's regulars happy. They have added a warmth and infectious enthusiasm which is palpable. I was worried that they didn't have the experience to bravely take on such an enormous challenge but I needn't have been.

They love people and they love books – and that makes a brilliant bookshop! I would encourage anyone to pop in and say hello (or even Bonjour). You can be sure of a very warm welcome, some excellent recommendations and quite probably some new friends!


Thank you so much to Faye for introducing us to what sounds like a very welcoming bookshop. Now I've recently become a little less scared of visiting France I think I'll have to use a trip to Warwick Books as an opportunity to learn a few more words (and buy a book or two).

4 comments:

  1. It sounds a lovely bookshop to visit - more power to them for taking a leap of faith and having it work out. Wishing them tons of success.

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    1. I agree - very impressive and brave. And I can't wait to explore it for myself.

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  2. Super. I'm just back from 18 months working and living in Warwick/Leamington during the week, but to my shame I never made it into any of the local bookshops. It's a problem that although the majority of the population who work do so on out-of-town estates, the town centre shops only open 9 to 5.30.
    Maybe indie bookshops need to consider shifting their hours, to allow potential customers to get there?

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    1. I agree it'd be a lovely idea to be able to visit a bookshop after work, but a difficult one for the bookshops if us bookshoppers didn't turn up regularly.

      As for your missing out on the local bookshops - it sounds like a good excuse for a return visit?

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