Saturday, 5 October 2013

Searching for the Holy Grail.....

Looking for a small  independent book store these days is rather like searching for the Holy Grail. All too often in our small towns you can sense the echo of what was once a bustling bookshop, only to find it replaced with the ubiquitous cut price toiletries shop, or even worse, another mobile phone shop. 

I know that my own northern town lost its independent bookshop some years ago, and whilst it has been replaced by one of the large chain book stores, somehow the ambience isn't the same. The bookshop I remember had been in place since my childhood, and in the 1970s,  it was where I went when I needed a new pen for school, and where I dashed to grab one of the first copies of Love Story by Erich Segal - how I loved that book!!

When, in the early 1990s, I discovered that I could order my favourite American author's books, Smiths of Wigan, was the only place I thought of going to place my order, and looked forward to getting that phone call to say that my book had arrived - somehow an email pinging into my inbox from an on-line book seller doesn't have the same kind of thrill.

Imagine my delight when I discovered in a neighbouring small market town, a sign shining like a beacon of hope. I had discovered my own Holy Grail......

Ebb & Flo

12 Gillibrand Street
Chorley, Lancashire

A glorious independent bookshop -which not only had the delicious scent of new books but also the dazzling aroma of coffee and the enticing lure of cake. It is obvious that the proprietress, Diane, has a real passion for books and is doing all she can to encourage reader participation by organising author events and reading groups.

So, if your town is lucky enough to still have its indie bookshop - do pop in to browse, buy, and to say hello, and  instead of hearing the ping of an email from an on-line book seller, you hear instead the ping of a shop door as it opens into an Aladdin's cave of literary adventure.

Go out and find your very own Holy Grail.


  1. I am completely with you on the holy grail of the small independent bookstore. May they survive and thrive. I realize you sometimes have to plop down a bit more money for a book than if you went to one of the evil empires to buy your book, but there's a real human being who can say, "oh, I loved that. And you know there's this other author you'd love--have you found so and so's books yet?" And then you have some author in your hands you'd never have found who's a marvel. And a friend--the bookstore human being. So much better. Thanks!

    1. Hello Judith - thanks for taking time to read and comment. I totally agree- the bookstore human being - is a pearl beyond price, and something to cherish !

  2. Take two second attempt at posting but comments appear to be disappearing!! I said that I too get excited when I discover new indie book shops. We have one pure retailer (not second-hand) in the burbs. The city centre has the usual plus some specialist shops who buy and sell second-hand books. I was pleased to hear the publisher at a recent book-launch advocating the independent stores.

    1. Hello Jane - I'm sorry your comments are disappearing. I have the same problem when posting from my Ipad. Thanks for your comments - we share the same excitement for books and book shops !!

  3. Had to leave a comment on this post as I came across it whilst looking on Bloglovin' and instantly recognised the name 'Ebb & Flo' as I actually live in the little market town you mention.

    I haven't yet been in but my sister is so pleased this little book shop has opened and takes her children to story yoga and is also a member of the book club.

    Lovely post :)

    1. Hello Fee - what a surprise that you actually live in this small market town - you should pop into Ebb and Flo next time you're in town!!

      I'm sure your sister's children have a lovely time at story yoga - what a great idea !

      Thanks for finding me and Jaffa on Bloglovin' !


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