Calls to give support to local bookshops

In advance of the IW Literary Festival, Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has called on Islanders to support local bookshops, saying they offer an experience not available on the internet.

Mark Sames, from Ryde Bookshop in Ryde High Street, said: “We were established in 1988, we have over 100,000 books in 10 rooms on three floors. There are both second-hand and new books on virtually every subject, so we are able to offer great choice and excellent value. Why browse virtually on the internet when you can browse for real, and walk away there and then with your book of choice. We are open seven days a week including bank holidays.”

Margaret Norris from Books2Love in Pyle Street Newport said: “’Customers love to browse in this old-fashioned bookshop with knowledgeable staff giving a personal service and a huge selection of books both new and second-hand to choose from. Toasted teacakes and a variety of coffee; what’s not to like?”

Gail Middleton from Mrs Middleton’s bookshop in Freshwater said: “George Orwell wrote of his stint as a bookseller back in 1936. The combines can never be allowed to squeeze the small independent bookseller out of existence as they have squeezed the grocer and the milkman. Fortunately, the milkman seems to be making a resurgence, and in Freshwater at least, we are bucking the trend in High Street demise, as four independent retailers have opened in the vicinity recently, joining us, the butcher, the baker, if not the candlestick maker, although Whistle and Hound next door do candle making workshops.

Les Sklaroff of Cameron House Books in Freshwater Bay said: “Cameron House Books, established for more than 25 years, is located in the former home of Julia Margaret Cameron, the pioneer portrait photographer. You will find here a wide-ranging stock of quality second-hand books in most subject areas, including archaeology, crime fiction, children’s books, poetry, photography and philosophy.”

Reuben Simpson-Little from Babushka Books & Framing Gallery in Regent Street, Shanklin said: “Babushka Books was started in 1957 by eccentric book & art collector Aldous Pembroke when he opened a small lending library and gallery on the Isle of Wight.

“Recently the shop has expanded to include bespoke picture framing and was featured in Time Out magazine showcasing our devotion to restoring typewriters. We are the last remaining typewriter sale and repair shop on the island and have sold machines all around the world.”

Mr Seely said: “It is these smaller local stores that offer not just a good selection of books, but the staff have a unique experience, knowledge and passion for books and literature. These shops also provide a social hub as well as contributing to the fabric of our town centres. It is too easy to browse the internet and purchase online and forget that there are smaller independent retailers right on our doorstep that offer excellent choice and value.”