We’re heading over to Lindum Books for March’s Bookshop of the Month. Nestled on the historic Bailgate in Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter, Lindum Books offers a carefully curated selection of new and old books in a charming browsing environment. We chatted with the shop’s manager Sasha to find out more about this well-run and well-focused Lincoln independent.
1. What’s it like running a bookshop in Lincoln? How have you seen the town change over the years?
Running a bookshop anywhere is hard work, but Lincoln is a lovely place to have an independent bookshop. We’re in the historic part of the city, close to the cathedral and castle, on a mini-high street of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. In normal times we get a lovely mix of visitors and local residents in the shop and we’re right in the middle of all the exciting events hosted in the city – the Christmas Market, the steampunk festival, the farmers’ markets and craft markets.
I went to school in Lincoln and when I left to go to university, I didn’t think I would ever come back to live here. At that point, 30 years ago, Lincoln was a very quiet provincial city, with not much having happened since World War II and its historical manufacturing industries in decline. What changed was the arrival of the University of Lincoln, which brought an influx of new people and investment and a new life to the area.
2. In normal times, what sort of books do you find your customers are most interested in?
Our biggest sellers are novels and children’s books but there’s also a huge appetite here for history. Both locals and visitors buy books about the history of the city and county and local people of historical significance, and military aviation history is a real feature. Lincolnshire was the home of the Dambusters and many bomber squadrons during World War II, as well as the Vulcan nuclear bombers during the Cold War. Many visitors come especially for that history and locals often have family connections.
There’s also an ongoing interest in local medieval history and personages and the county was the home to Isaac Newton and Joseph Banks, so anything connected to them is popular.
3. What types of books have your customers been buying recently?
Since the pandemic started, novels have remained the top sellers, probably because they provide an escape. We’ve also seen poetry become more popular, possibly as a form of comfort during this stressful time. Children’s fiction and picture remain high sellers too, as parents and carers continue with home schooling.
4. Who would be your dream customer and why?
There’s no particular individual dream customer but the perfect customer is the one who comes in, has a little chat and then comes to the counter after a good browse with an armful of books! And then comes back regularly to do the same thing… In fact, many of my regular customers are dream customers in that respect!
5. And finally, do you have any exciting plans for the shop in the coming months that you’d like to share with us?
It’s far too hard to make any concrete plans at the moment but we’ve been holding author events and reading groups online over the last year or so, and we’re in the planning process for more of those over the spring months.
We’re also very keen to get back to in-person author events, once it’s safe to do so.