Congratulations To The Aldeburgh Bookshop!
AbeBooks would like to congratulate The Aldeburgh Bookshop for winning the prestigious 2005 Aurum Independent Bookstore of the Year Award.
Read below for a brief description about The Aldeburgh Bookshop and owners Mary and John James.
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The Aldeburgh Bookshop has been in business for over 50 years. John and I bought the shop in 2000, and moved our lives and our two small children up to Suffolk from London to do so. John was a chartered surveyor specializing in investment property; Mary had been an antiquarian bookseller for over 15 years, working for the West End firm Bernard Quaritch. Neither of us had experience of running our own business or selling new books, so we had to learn as we went--fast. The previous owners, who were retiring, were very helpful, but we have inevitably introduced our own style.
The shop is a small independent general bookshop with a popular children's department and a good range of fiction, history and biography (Mary was one of the Judges last year on the Whitbread Biography Prize). The bookshop is situated in the picturesque seaside town of Aldeburgh--we can see the North Sea from our office window--so our busiest times are the holidays. We have recently finished the third phase of refurbishment and modest expansion incorporating the little gallery next door.
In 2001 we started our own Literary Festival and we have been fortunate to have hosted Alan Bennett, P. D. James, Alexander McCall Smith, Doris Lessing, Richard Dawkins, Craig Brown, Harold Pinter and Lady Antonia Fraser amongst many others over the last four years. We have also published two books since we took over the shop: a reprint of an anthology of Suffolk verse illustrated by John Nash with a new introduction by Ronald Blythe called Parnassian Molehill; and a new translation by Irene Noel Baker of Book Ten of Plato's Republic.
We have gradually introduced a booksearch service for our customers, and we have found AbeBooks.co.uk invaluable for this. I personally hardly consider using any of the other sites for second hand books. We have built up a very small stock of second books relating to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, Benjamin Britten and the Aldeburgh Festival. Having used AbeBooks for years, we have recently decided to advertise our stock on the site. I have only catalogued one batch of books so far, so we do not have many books listed yet. One of my favourites is the limited edition of our famous local poet Michael Hamburger's In Suffolk. Michael and his wife Anne Beresford have given some wonderful poetry readings in our shop.
Top Ten Book Recommendations From The Aldeburgh Bookshop: