A bookshop owner’s wisdom

In my previous post I mentioned how Hall’s bookshop in Tunbridge Wells was a contributing inspiration for this film.

Well it appears the shop is run by a Sabrina Izzard. And I was pleased to discover a 2008 interview with her conducted by Sheila Markham that appears as a guest blog post on the ‘Bookstore Guide’ website (which describes itself as “an amateur guide to book shopping throughout Europe”).

Sabrina has a number of interesting things to say about running the shop. One of my favourite quotes is, “I have learnt not to employ ex-librarians – they always want to impose order.”

But also relevant to our film is her revelations regarding what happened when Lloyds bank (who owned the shop premises) declared they were going to redevelop the site for a new purpose. The horror of a big faceless company swiping away a harmless, charming bookshop . . . fortunately, there was a happy ending. You can read about it here

It seems perfectly apt that a bookshop which helped inspire this film should have had a history like this, and it’s interesting to note Sabrina’s timely thoughts on how owning an independent bookshop has changed, and her ponderings of the future:

“In the old days, customers would come in to the shop, and you would acknowledge them and then carry on with what you were doing. Nowadays there are so few secondhand bookshops that you have to assume that it might be their first visit to such an establishment. I will now approach them, if they are new to the shop, and offer my assistance. This pro-active method seems to be working. A lot of young people have no affinity with books, referring to them as ‘so last century’. I am sure that books will survive, but the next few years will be critical.”

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