Marple Bookshop is a family-owned independent bookshop that has been serving Marple and its surrounding areas over the past fifty years. We spoke with Caroline, the shop’s director, to find out more about this charming shop!
1. Marple Bookshop has been serving Marple and its surrounding areas for the last 50 years. What was the bookselling vision behind setting up this shop?
We were looking for an investment in property and decided to open a bookshop following a suggestion from a relative who already worked in a bookshop and who was willing to offer us help and advice. Once we had decided to open a bookshop, our research of the local area led us to Marple, which we saw had a lot of different clubs and societies in the surrounding area, whose members would be potential customers.
This was also coupled with an interest in books due to a background in primary school education. At the time we started there was a shortage of educational activity books and we specifically sourced books from educational publishers.
2. Do you find that being family-owned sets you apart from other bookshops? If so, how?
From our own perspective, it’s lovely to share the experience of the highs and lows of running a shop with your family! Our customers still appreciate the personal touch, with the majority of customers phoning or coming into the shop to place orders every day for specific and niche books. We never cease to be amazed by the huge variety of interests and books requested. We also take the time to phone our customers when their books arrive in stock.
Having three generations of our family now involved helps us with buying and stocking our shelves and knowing about some of the trends that people are interested in, together with years of knowing the types of books which customers are interested in and regular visits from publisher reps with new titles.
3. What types of books have your customers been buying recently? Have you noticed any trends?
Particularly since COVID lockdown, we have seen our children’s book sales increase significantly. There has also been a continuing interest in local books about the history of our local area and lots of walking books as we are located on the edge of the Peak District National Park. We also order every day for our customers.
4. If you could recommend one book published in the past year, what would it be?
It’s extremely difficult to pick just one book, but we’ve loved A Year Unfolding: A Printmaker’s View by Angela Harding.
5. And finally, do you have any exciting plans for the shop in the coming months that you’d like to share with us?
Like a lot of bookshops, when we were closed during lockdown we re-arranged our shop, updated and modernized some areas and created our new branding. We also installed an EPOS system that integrates with a new online shop. And we continue to move forward and encourage new customers to visit our shop using social media and word of mouth!