A bookshop is a special (maybe enchanted) place found all over the world and staffed by booksellers who seem to have a preternatural ability to put just the right book in your hands.
People have been buying and selling books since about 300 BCE. During the latter part of the Roman Empire, when all the best homes included a personal library, the book trade was boomin’. Back then, shops posted a list of titles for sale on their doors.
The kind of store we think of when someone says ‘bookshop’ was initially tied closely to printing. The first booksellers were also editors and printers who made the books, then sold them to the reading public. Eventually, those specialties split apart: Publishers worked with authors to create books, and booksellers placed them into the hands of readers.
And we’re all better for it.
In this episode, we talk about the world’s oldest bookshop and discuss some remarkable bookstores around the world, including a barefoot bookshop in paradise and another in Scotland’s National Book Town. We also learn about a shocking bookstore-related medical phenomenon! Then we recommend great books that took us inside the world of bookshops, including a haunting literary novel, a throwback detective story, two bookish miscellanies, a screwball comedy-thriller mashup, and historical fiction set in post-WWII London starring women with moxie.
Here are the books about bookshops we recommend on the show:
For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 48 show notes.
Subscribe to our podcast so you never miss a must-read book or thrilling destination!
If we're not available on your favorite podcast-listening platform, send us an email!
Top image courtesy of joreks/Shutterstock.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is ©2023 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.