'The 39 Best Independent Bookshops in the U.K. & Ireland'

"What makes a good bookshop?" asked the i Paper in showcasing its picks for "the 39 best independent bookshops in the U.K. and Ireland."

"The best bookshops combine an understanding of their customers with the knowledge to supply the right read at the right time," the i Paper wrote. "The best bookshops put the theatre in retail, and the ker-ching in browsing. The bookshops shortlisted for the British Book Awards have one thing in common: they are all growing their businesses in a market that is flat, and difficult....  

"The 39 independent bookshops that feature here thrive by making their shops centres of discussion, venues for book launches, oases for authors, and the home for themed events (Harry Potter evening anyone?). They are active participants in their communities, forging links with schools, libraries and other local institutions and providing space for book readers to gather. Many run coffee shops, some sell ice-cream, and others even have a drinks license....  And, of course, part of these shops' charm is their individuality--catering for local interests with local decision making, supporting local writers and handselling books that appeal to repeat customers."

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