In an age where children can be wired up to computer games, television sets and all things digital at the click of the button, it might seem that the days of the humble children’s book are over. As we foster a new generation of technology whizzes, the crumpled pages and cracked spines of that favourite children’s book that still smells of its life of being drowned in the bath, squabbled over by siblings and torn through history threatens to become a thing of the past. Yet, according to a recent report by the Bookseller’s Association, as published by the BBC this week, independent children’s bookshops are continuing to stand strong in a climate where other independent retailers are closing their doors.
With no closures and 36 new openings of children’s bookshops last year, the statistics from the Bookseller’s Association suggests that the enjoyment of perusing the book shelves filled with exciting fictional adventures and factual gems still holds a real charm for children. This popularity of the physical book challenges the trend in adult books where printed book sales are at their lowest in nine years, unable to compete with the e-book market.
This news comes at the start of Independent Booksellers Week which runs from 30 June until 7 July which celebrates and pays thanks to all the booksellers, publishers, authors and customers who champion an enjoyment of honest independent book retail. And here in York, there’s no excuse not to become part of this nation-wide trend for independence with a host of unique book shops ready for all those little and big bookworms to forage. Here’s a snippet of what’s on offer for children in York’s independent book scene:
The Minster Gate Bookshop, 8 Minster Gates
In the shadows of the Minster, this five-floor Georgian town house is nestled in a street which has been stocking the bookshelves of York residents since 1580 and was even formerly known as Bookland Lane. Part of the P.B.F.A, the largest association of antiquarian and second-hand booksellers in the world, The Minster Gate Bookshop specialises in children’s and illustrated books as well as folklore and Arthurian literature making it a hot-spot for finding a fictional nugget that will suck you into a heady world of imaginative adventures.
Lucius Books, 41 Fossgate
A quaint family-run business established in 1933, Lucius Books offers a wide range of children’s literature and illustrated books with a particular focus on the old favourites. For a trip back into a nostalgic reading past, Lucis Books is the perfect location to find those classic Enid Blyton books, ‘Sweet William’ series, Every Boy’s Hobby Annuals and lots more wistful treasures.
Oxfam Bookshop, 69 Low Petergate
With a collection made up entirely of donated books, Petergate’s Oxfam is a treasure chest for unique and rare finds that you cannot get anywhere else. The shop also hosts an exciting collection of children’s books including the classics and some special treats thought to be lost to yesteryear. If you like the feel of old children’s books, loved and nurtured by the children of the past, the Oxfam bookshop is a lovely place to satisfy your literary loves.
Little Apple Bookshop, 13 High Petergate
Offering a huge collection of children’s books, the Little Apple Bookshop will leave little hungry book-lovers spoilt for choice. Selling both modern and more classic kid’s books that serve great as both quirky gifts and necessary food for the imagination, the Little Apple Bookshop is a quiet bookworm’s retreat renowned for its friendly atmosphere.