Chorleywood Bookshop is one of a pair. Its sister shop is Gerrards Cross Bookshop, both of them well worth a visit. They organise lots of events and book signings so make sure you visit their joint website to see what they’re up to. Here are their answers to my questions:
Can you tell me something about the history of Chorleywood Bookshop?
Chorleywood Bookshop has now existed for 40 odd years and up until 2014, it was always run by women. But we now have a man as one of our team. Since 2014, Sheryl has had a new business partner, Martin.
All the staff have a deep interest in books and we all had previous careers before coming into the retail side of books. We are a very mixed group and we complement each other remarkably well. Sheryl was a nurse, Martin worked for a water company, Janet worked in television, I was librarian, Wendy was an accountant, Helen was a children’s nanny, Gillian was a librarian and Rosie was a journalist.
What’s your favourite section?
We think overall our favourite section is the recommended reads.
If you had infinite space what would you add?
A big enough space to hold story time comfortably.
What’s the hardest thing about running an independent bookshop?
Wishing for space! Other larger bookshops are so lucky! And, trying to satisfy the customers requests in time…especially at Christmas.
Who is your favourite customer?
All of our customers! Without them we don’t have a bookshop.
What’s the craziest situation you’ve ever had to deal with?
The late night openings for the latest Harry Potter books when it was at its height of popularity. And recently, Ben Fogle…everyone who came brought their dog to meet him. It was chaotic but wonderful!
What’s your best / first memory of visiting a bookshop?
We are too many to pick a favourite bookshop but we do love going into other bookshops…a bit like “busman” holidays.
What would you like your customers to do differently?
We prefer our customers to read real books…hard copy, call it what you will rather than electronic books. There is something about holding the book in your hands rather than an electronic device.
What would you like authors or publishers to do differently?
We really prefer authors to be published through the mainstream publishers. And obviously, we would really appreciate publishers giving independent bookshops parity with the internet suppliers.
What’s been the biggest surprise of owning an independent bookshop?
Just how diverse the requests are from customers. They have introduced us to authors and subjects that we have never known about…they teach us lots! And just how much the local community values us. Sheryl has made sure to support local community events by us being the box office.
What fairly unknown book do you think more people should know about?
We all have personal favourites but we think there is a book for everyone and we try to find it for the customer.
What book are you currently recommending or hand-selling?
We are still hand selling yours [Our Endless Numbered Days] successfully as the book group gave such positive feed back but other favourites include the Ferrante books that have been dominating the charts.
How can people visit or get in touch with you?
We can be found on:
Internet: Chiltern bookshops
And of course, visit us / call us in Chorleywood and Gerrards Cross
Other bookshops in this series:
Read about Book-ish in Crickhowell
Read about Mr B’s in Bath
Read about Lutyens & Rubinstein in London
Read about The White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough
Read about The Little Ripon Bookshop in Ripon
Read about Chepstow Books in Chepstow