Q & A session gets behind the cover of wonderful and unique local booksellers
Tell us its history and when you became involved: The Book Shop has been in Liskeard for over 20 years and had three owners before me. I took it over five years ago at a time when independent bookshops were facing a difficult future with the emergence of buying on the internet and in supermarkets. It was a totally new venture for me, a complete change of career. I don't regret it. I now have two part-time staff who help me run the shop, and students on Saturdays.
Our bookshop is welcoming, light and on split levels on the ground floor of a Grade II-listed building from 1850 in the middle of Liskeard's main street, opposite the Library. Its position is probably an important factor in its success over the years.
Who are your customers? Our customers are our great pleasure. The majority of them come from Liskeard and the surrounding area plus regulars who come from all over Cornwall and we also have a few from abroad. They are all ages. We also work with schools and other educational institutions.
What's your favourite book from childhood? I used to love the Famous Five with its endless adventures and also cartoon books like Tintin and Asterix.
Which book changed your life? Books by Margaret Drabble. She shaped my feminist views.
Which book do you go back to time and again? Desert from Le Clezio, beautifully written, rich, poetic, powerful, broadly historical – about the blue men of the North African desert and a later generation in Marseilles.
Have you ever been tempted to write a book? Not yet – but maybe one day the story of my life in 20 objects? I have collected objects throughout my life which are related to some story from my life.
Which book would you recommend to cheer someone up? Asterix in Britain. What better way to look at Britain but through the eyes of a Gaelic tribe from Brittany!?
What are you reading now? I have two books on the go, one for my book club, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, which I love, and one by my favourite French author, Dominique Fernandez, about his travels, called Transsibérien.
Favourite book of the last year? Hard to say, but to name two: The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal and The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes.
What are you doing to celebrate The Books Are My Bag event? We are running an exciting workshop on book art. Participants will cover a bag with book pages, or make book sculptures. It's next Saturday, 10.30am to 1.30pm. Book in advance.
Tell us its history: The Torbay Bookshop was set up in 1993 by me and my husband, Matthew Clarke. We were from publishing backgrounds and came to the Westcountry when Matthew went to work for David and Charles in Newton Abbot. When he left it seemed the ideal opportunity to work together and to realise an ambition to own our own shop. After outgrowing our original site we moved nine doors down the road in 2002.
The Torbay Bookshop is light, spacious, air-conditioned, and above all, welcoming! With a dedicated, inviting children's section and something for everyone.
After acquiring a Thorntons franchise in 2011 we have seven bays of lovely tempting chocolates. This year we became the Visitor Information Point for Paignton, and have local leaflets and book theatre tickets.
It's a challenging time for everyone in retail, not just those in bookselling. Despite the attractions of the internet and the supermarkets there are plenty of customers who want to feel and look at a book before buying and who relate to the customer service we provide. We believe personally in shopping locally and work to provide an attractive and appealing place in which to shop.
What's your favourite book from childhood? The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. It's still in print, set in the Westcountry, and is a magical story full of adventure and intrigue. I loved it then and was thrilled when my daughter loved it too.
Which book changed your life? The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. Epic fantasy on a grand scale, I first read it in my early teens and it started a life-long love of the fantasy genre.
Which book do you go back to time and time again? This is a really guilty pleasure but Colour Me Beautiful by Mary Spillane, first published in the early 80s is one I read at least once every year. For those who don't know it, it's all to do about finding your best colours according to your natural characteristics.
Which book would you recommend to cheer someone up? Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell. Well, it's funny to us booksellers!
What are you reading now? Game of Thrones Book 4 by George RR Martin. It's that love of fantasy again and this is beyond description!
Favourite book of the last year?A Tale for the Timebeing, by Ruth Ozeki. This recently won the Independent Booksellers book of the year. It's a complex read, spanning across time and continents.
Prediction for the next 12 months? The e-book reader will be consigned to the back of the cupboard and customers will come flocking back to the high street. This may be partly true, anecdotal evidence suggests that not everyone likes them and their use may have peaked. Thankfully that other trend for last year has also peaked – the 50 Shades phenomenon.
What are you doing to celebrate The Books Are My bag event? We foresee a rash of the bags all over town as we give them away to celebrate the event and have special displays instore. It's also our 20th anniversary in November so big things are planned!
Tell us about the bookshop Our brilliant bookshop is 50 years old this year – Ron Hulland opened it after purchasing it from WH Smith in 1963. I've been working at the bookshop in one way or another since 2003. It's an essential community bookshop where adults and children feel comfortable to hang out and browse. Helpful, knowledgeable and friendly staff who love books are always on hand .
What's your favourite book from childhood? The Twits by Roald Dahl.
Which book changed your life? The Meaning Of Liff.
Which book do you go back to time and time again? Secret History by Donna Tartt.
Have you ever been tempted to write a book? All the time…
Which book would you recommend to cheer someone up? Still Life With Woodpeckers by Tom Robbins.
What are you reading now? The new Robert Harris thriller Officer & A Spy, due out at the end of September
Favourite book of the last year? San Miguel by TC Boyle – sublime.
What are you doing to celebrate Books Are My bag? On Monday at 6.30pm we're holding an event in conjunction with Totnes Library for ML Stedman's hit summer novel Light Between Oceans, at the library. Next weekend sees the return of our famous yellow spot £1 sale and on October 11 a launch for Marcia Willett's new novel Postcards From The Past.
Tell us it's about the bookshop: it was acquired in 2001 by family run Westcountry-based Mabecron Books. I joined part-time in 2009 after graduating and earlier this year became manager. It's one of Britain's smallest bookshops with Cornish slate floors, oak bookcases, pretty shop windows and books crammed on to every available surface. We aim to stock something for everyone, with a large general range of over 5,000 titles. The children's section is particularly tempting and we love to show our love for the books with individual handmade reviews, signs and window displays.
What's your favourite book from childhood? Hmm, a hard one. The Chronicles of Narnia, Danny Champion of the World or Blind Beauty by K M Peyton, I think.
Which book do you go back to time and time again? Wuthering Heights and Diana Gabaldon's Cross Stitch.
Have you ever been tempted to write a book? Of course! But then there's the very small issue of coming up with a good story and finding the time to write it...
Which book would you recommend to cheer someone up? Emma Kennedy's The Tent the Bucket and Me. I was once reading it waiting for a train and noticed I was getting some very odd looks – it took me a while to realise I was laughing out loud!
What are you reading now? Judy Astley's In the Summertime – thought I'd better read it before autumn! A fab Cornish beachy read in which our very own St Ives features.
Favourite book of the last year? Again I'll have to pick two: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and Summer in February by Jonathan Smith.
What are you doing to celebrate The Books Are My bag event? We'll have a selection of books that are our bag! This will include some of our booksellers' favourites, the shop's bestsellers, works set against the stunning backdrop of Cornwall or those by local authors. And of course St Ives has its two week September Festival of Music and The Arts starting on the same day.
Tell us its history: The Bookshelf has been in Saltash for over 25 years. It was originally opened by Diana Summers, who still visits. I took over in 2008 and moved the business from 58 Fore Street to 96 Fore Street to take advantage of larger premises and the tearoom, which is run by my sister, Pip. Sales tend to be based on activities such as walking or cycling, but other customers have been using the sets of old maps we have available. Our local authors – Marcia Willett and Debby Fowler in particular – are always in demand.
What's your favourite book from childhood? Wind in the Willows.
Which book changed your life? The Collins Robert French dictionary. I loved using it while I was learning the language and it directly affected my desire to speak French correctly. It was always more than just a dictionary.
Which book do you go back to time and time again? Nicholas Monsarrat's Cruel Sea. It's a story of war without pathos.
What are you reading now? John Grisham – I'm enjoying his books as I come across them. Several have appeared in the bargain basket and they're unputdownable.
Favourite book of the last year? Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I've reached the stage of selling it with the proviso that if the customer doesn't like it, I'll give them their money back!
Prediction for the next 12 months? Readers will turn to the classics like George Eliot and F Scott Fitzgerald.
Tell us about your shop: Established in the mid-1980s, we took it over in early 2002. It's a beautiful tudor building close to the heart of Tavistock, with two floors selling books and one selling CDs and DVDs.
Who are your customers? We have, simply, the best customers in the world. The good folks of Tavistock and the surrounding area continue to be so supportive, with numbers boosted by tourists in the summer.
What's your favourite book from childhood? For Simon, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. For Natasha, all Enid Blyton.
Which book changed your life? For Simon, The Magus by John Fowles. For Natasha, Master and Magarita by Bulgakov and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.
Which book do you go back to time and time again? The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle; The Bible.
Have you ever been tempted to write a book? Simon: Not for a very long time. Natasha: Someone once said that the bookseller is a 'writer manqué', but personally, I love the product, mainly reading it!
Which book would you recommend to cheer someone up? The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
What are you reading now? Simon: The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri. Natasha: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
Favourite book of the last year? Simon: Five Star Billionnaire by Tash Aw. Natasha: Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander.
Prediction for the next 12 months? The book's solidity (as against the ebook) will continue.
Forthcoming events? We have renowned local authors Alex Mettler, Ted Sherrell and Marcia Willett signing copies of their new books on September 27, October 4 and October 18, respectively.