“England’s largest independent bookstore for decades” opened in Bath – and it is breathtaking.
Topping and Company booksellers have grown steadily over their 14 years on The Paragon and can be considered a Bath institution.
But their success reached dizzying heights when they got permission to convert the former Friends Meeting House on York Street into a bookworm’s paradise.
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The new store opened on Saturday, October 30.
Surrounded by the work of new and old authors, you feel like you’ve stepped into JK Rowling‘s Flourish and Blotts, or maybe the Beauty and the Beast library.
Books tower over you, with the tallest shelves accessible only by a ladder – and wherever you turn, another surprise awaits.
Natural light streams in from the glass dome above and you can browse for as long as you like to a soundtrack of soothing music.
Take a look inside the new store with our photo gallery below.
Are you going to settle into a comfy Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, or maybe try Bernadine Evaristo’s “Girl, Woman, Other”?
You can sip a cup of tea or coffee while you make up your mind, thanks to the helpful and friendly staff who run the shop.
Saber Khan helps run the new store and revealed that there are over 70,000 books on its shelves.
He said: “The response has been great. A lot of people came and they were absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the place and how lucky we are to be here.
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“It’s great to see their happy faces. We’ve got about 70,000 books here – maybe more. We have booksellers and we do everything ourselves, it’s not just automated stuff.
“We all run our own sections, so it’s very personal and very convenient.
“Since Saturday we’ve had more people than we can keep track of. On that first day, there was no quiet moment at all and there are still many, many people arriving.”
It’s a labor of love for Saber, who has worked in a bookstore “since graduating from college” almost 30 years ago.
He devours everything from fiction to poetry to crime and said, “The great thing about being here is that other people can put you in books too.
“Someone might be excited about a book and that would make me want to read it.”
The store is open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers many signings and events – find more information here.