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A little bit of heaven on the high street

8th August 2011 - Laura Crosby

The Bookshop by Penelope FitzgeraldPersonally I've been in too many bookshops to count, and I'll never get tired of it, even though I work in one. For me, entering a shop with thousands of words enclosed in many wonderful covers is just about as magical as it gets; and I know this is the same for many, if not all of you reading this.

Going into a bookshop as a bookseller is so much different than before I sold books. I guess I take my 'work' with me, and take note of how other shops do things and what they sell - not on purpose you realise, but old habits die hard!

So how best to satify my curiosity about what the non-booksellers think? I decided to ask the general public. We threw a tweet (@foyles) at you, and a Facebook post, asking you why you go into bookshops. We didn't just want to know about why you go into Foyles, but all bookshops. What about those people who browse the day away - is it planned or accidental?

Your answers:

Unsurprisingly, great staff knowledge came up tops but the smell and ability to hold the books was equally important.

But there were a lot more that made me smile, and realise that the bookshop experience is so sacred for so many people. Some of you stated that you love the peace and the personality of bookshops, and others said how the atmosphere of the shop is vital to your visit.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene HanffThe nooks and crannies also featured in the list, and I've come to see just how much you love to find a quiet corner and flick hungrily through all sorts of genres.

Then there's the other really important thing - range. It's obviously impossible to have a shop that caters to everybody's personal tastes, but it is important to be able to find the titles that sell to the masses, and the ones which maybe only rarely go- but when they do, they go happily and in unique hands.

There is the sheer joy of just finding your next read. Obviously there's the 'needing the next one in the series' or the 'must have the newest one by a certain author', but we would still love to know more about this. If you do plan a visit, is it because you read a mind blowing review on the new crime hardback, or do you even read reviews at all? Maybe you go in to find out who's won the latest literary prize or because you're aware of the stunningly good offers?

In conclusion? Well, there isn't one really. People love so many aspects of the bookshop that it's impossible to pin down one reason. But I hope that, with our new floor opening very soon in Bristol, we'll personally be able to give you all what you so crave in a bookshop, and more.

Whatever your reason for your visit, keep doing it. You're the people we open for. And if you'd like to let us know more about what makes a bookshop special for you, click the link below.

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