For the past couple of days, there was a campaign in the UK called Books Are My Bag. This campaign is aimed at the promotion of bookshops, and it comes with special offers and totebags and a lot of orange everywhere.
As a Dutch person, I’m used to seeing a lot of orange on random occassions. Unfortunately, as a Dutch person, I don’t technically get to join in on the BAMB fun. Granted, there are less and less bookshops to even celebrate to begin with, but it still saddens me that there’s no such campaign over here.
So instead, I decided to join in on the fun by myself!
Last Thursday, I went to one of my favourite bookshops, called Raadgeep & Berrevoets.
It’s not an independent bookshop, despite still having its own name (and it’s pretty mosaic above the front side of the store that’s always casting a rainbow of colours on everything). Here in the Netherlands, from what I understand of the business, there’s a bit of a strange system going on where bookshops can join a franchise called Libris, but also keep their own name and own design. I’m not sure about the specifics, and to be honest I’m not even entirely sure if this is how it works, but one result (combined with there being, basically, just one supplier of books in the first place) is that most bookshops sell the exact same books as all the other bookshops.
This is also true for the shop I went to on Thursday. But, because it’s a (slightly) bigger one and because I read primarily in English, this means much more choice in English books! This day, I brought home a beautiful copy of Euphoria by Lily King.
Then today, I went to the only English bookshop around. It’s in a tiny town called Bredevoort, which is also called a “booktown”. This town specialises in bookstores with old books, secondhands & antiques. Although it’s been struggling and it’s lost a lot of bookstores over the past years, a couple are still surviving, and The English Bookshop is one of them.
The English Bookshop is a tiny little shop consisting of roughly two fairly small rooms. These rooms are stuffed with books, sometimes going right up to the ceiling. It’s all English, almost all secondhand (though I’ve spotted a couple of new Wordsworth editions here and there), and the topics range from fiction to gardening to British history to WWII. There’s even a small Arthurian legends shelf, right next to Greek history and general architecture.
Suffice to say, I almost never manage to leave this shop without at least one book. (Today, I bought four).