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December Independent Bookshop of the Month

Our December Independent Bookshop of the Month is the wonderful Sam Reads which is located in the beautiful Lake District. Sam Reads can be found in Grasmere which was once the home of Wordsworth who described it as "the loveliest spot that man hath ever found". You'll find a big selection of books in Sam Reads including all sorts of Fiction, Non Fiction and Children's books. Elaine Nelson, the shop's current owner, lent some time to talk to us about the lovely shop. 

  • How did Sam Reads begin?
The bookshop dates from 1887 when Sam Read himself set it up, selling books, guides and maps to the original Victorian walkers/tourists, coming to the Lake District. It has traded as a bookshop on the same site since then and I am only the 6th owner in all that time.
  • What is your favourite part of bookselling?
My favourite part of bookselling is sourcing interesting titles, new and old, for our customers and then actually bookselling on a day to day basis, meeting like-minded book-loving people and passing on our accumulated book knowledge.
  • Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Probably the most exciting plan we have for the future is to develop a regular programme of author events. We have now successfully staged 3 this year and would love to be able to offer one a month, certainly over the main part of the season anyway. (We are a seasonal bookshop so, although we stay open most of the time, the winter months are very quiet). We are very much looking forward to welcoming the author and artist/illustrator Jackie Morris to an event here in the village on 13th September. It will certainly be our biggest event to date. And then we have an American lady dry stone waller, Whitney Brown, hopefully booked in to do an event at the beginning of October. If all goes well this year, this part of our plans should go from strength to strength.
  • If you weren’t running a bookshop, what would you be doing?
Your next question made me smile as I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I didn’t have the bookshop - as I’m now 6*, I would probably be retired but I don’t plan on retiring any time soon.
  • If you could meet any author or poet, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
If I could meet an author/poet, it would probably have to be Wordsworth as his legacy still plays such an important part in our village. If not William, then probably his sister, Dorothy - or maybe even both of them together. That would be perfect!
Sam Read Bookseller
Broadgate House, Grasmere,
Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9SY
Tel: 01539 435374