Our April Bookshop of the Month is the wonderful Forum Books. Forum is a much loved local bookshop, nestled in the village of Corbridge, Northumberland. Stocking a great variety of titles, the capable booksellers are always on hand to discuss the latest releases or espouse the merits of a classic. The shop regularly hosts events and often attracts best-selling authors to speak. They also stock a fantastic range of children's books, gifts, cards and specialist stationary which will be of particular interest to any Northumberland based illustrators. Yale Representation sat down with Helen Stanton, owner of Forum Books, to discuss what drew her to bookselling and how she fell in love with books.
What made you decide to buy Forum Books?
I’ve always dreamed of running a bookshop because simply I love them – they have always been my friend on the high street, somewhere I could go, discover something new, find something almost forgotten. This one was pure luck & timing as we knew the previous owners were going to retire and we always knew it would be great to be in a beautiful Northumberland.
What lessons have you learnt from selling books?
Customers are a great source of recommendations & should never be underestimated – their knowledge, breadth of reading interest is more often than not second to none. Be a bit thick skinned to comments about Amazon, kindles or “can’t remember last time I read a book” comments. And I find it’s best if I read what I like & not what I feel I should.
Could you describe your earliest memory of reading?
Reading Mr. Tickle tucked up in bed, imaging my arms were long enough to go down the stairs, into the kitchen and grab a biscuit, just like Mr. Tickle does.
What are your 3 favourite books?
Just three!? I love Jim Dodge, George Orwell & Oscar Wilde so lets say Stone Junction, Coming Up For Air and The Picture of Dorian Grey. And if I could sneak in three new favourites – Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler and Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy.
Independent bookshops pride themselves on their ability to connect with their customers, the readers. What advice would you give to authors who want readers to find them?
Start by making friends with local independent bookseller, be their customer and supporter – we’re all ( writers, publishers, booksellers) working towards same goal of finding readers & selling books!
Aside from your own, could you name your favourite bookshop anywhere in the world?
Type Books in Toronto – if you haven’t watched their Joy of Books film you’ll love it – there’s nothing quite like a real book! And nothing quite like a real bookshop.