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Barter Books and More

The video above tells the story of a British World War II poster with the message “Keep Calm and Carry On.” I happened to see a link to it yesterday morning on Andrew Sullivan’s blog. I rarely click on Sullivan’s video links, but something about this one caught my eye, and I’m glad it did. For, poster story aside, I was charmed by the views of the bookshop, Barter Books, where the poster was found in a box. See for yourself, starting at around 1:15 and continuing to the end. The bookshop is located in part of an 1887 railway station in Alnwick, north of Newcastle on the way to Edinburgh. One can learn more about the shop and station here and in the subsequent links.

I feel more than a little awkward about admiring the shop while confining most of my book purchases to Amazon. This is an on-going problem for us when we visit Nantucket, which has two wonderful bookstore that I have written about before, Mitchell’s Book Corner and Nantucket Bookworks. I was pleased to read three days ago that the two are likely to survive as part of a partnership that will run them jointly as “full-service, year-round bookstores,” thanks to the Schmidt Family Foundation. This is an extraordinary commitment for such a small community. Wendy Schmidt is quoted as saying, “I truly believe that collaboration rather than competition is the best course for the island’s bookstores. Mitchell’s Book Corner and Bookworks will each retain their own unique personalities, but by functioning cooperatively we’ll be able to strengthen both entities and offer even more for the island’s readers.” I do lots of reading when we’re there, but on my Kindle. This year we’ll make a point of buying books from both stores.

Meanwhile, in looking at the Barter Books website, I was led to The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World, a slideshow with brief descriptions. Most of the featured stores are in Europe, with two in China, one in Japan, one in Taiwan, one in Mexico, two in South America, and two in the US (LA and Ojai). I wish I knew about Bart’s Books when we were in Ojai a few summers ago.

Categories: Architecture, Books
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