Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Bookshop that Floated Away

The Book Barge
A lovely story about an unusual bookshop (Spotted on @nilanjanaroy's Twitter stream)

Via DW

"Having a bookshop had always been a romantic dream. I realized at the time that a lot of independent bookshops were struggling, and having it in a quirky space would be a real help and draw people, hopefully," Sarah Henshaw says.

With a loan from her parents (the banks thought her idea was crazy), she bought a canal barge, or narrowboat, sitting in a marina near the town of Burton in England's West Midlands. The tiny space was soon filled with books, part donated, part bought in.

"Narrowboats are unique to Britain. They're very long and very narrow, about an arm span's width. It's a huge challenge to fit the books in, trying to get as many in as possible. Because a good bookshop should carry quite a lot of stock I always thought," she explains.

"One of the advantages of not having that space is that you really have to think carefully about what you are selling and to curate your stock very well. So I'm very familiar with every single book on here, and I can sell my stuff probably a lot better than a big mainstream bookstore."

Sarah now takes her Book Barge on smaller tours around the country every summer, allowing customers access to an independent bookshop in places where there normally are none.

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