Welcome to The Woodstock Bookshop

The shop opened in May 2008 and is on the main road in Woodstock, just next to the bus stop. We can supply most books to order by the next day and have several thousand books in stock: to order books ring or email the shop. We have a large selection of children's books and are happy to advise and recommend. We can also supply second-hand and out-of-print titles. We offer discounts for school orders and for book clubs and have a free local delivery service.

We were on the regional shortlist for Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2009, 2013 and 2017, and listed in the Independent's Top 50 UK Bookshops.

are both suspended during the pandemic. We hope to start again as soon as it is safe to do so.

The bookshop started and runs Woodstock Poetry Festival, a completely independent festival that has now been running for 8 years.

The Woodstock Literature Society also holds an excellent series of monthly talks - do visit their website for further details.

Twitter: @WoodstockBooks

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson is coming to The Woodstock Bookshop to read from her new collection of poems, Coleshill, on Tuesday 12 March at 7pm. £5 entry, please ring or email in advance to book tickets. Spaces will be limited as this reading is being held in the bookshop - there will be wine...

Fiona Sampson has published six collections of poetry and was the editor of Poetry Review (the quarterly publication from The Poetry Society) from 2005-12. She is now the editor of POEM, an international English language quarterly whose first issue appeared in January 2013. Her poems have been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize and she has also recently written a 'map of contemporary British poetry', Beyond the Lyric. She trained as a musician and some of you may have heard her recent discussion on BBC Radio 3's Private Passions - if you missed it and would like to know her music choices see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qqfhh
Coleshill is where Fiona Sampson lives, at the corner of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. This haunting new collection is a portrait of place, both real and imaginary and the poems hum with an evocative music of their own. Coleshill is published by Chatto & Windus on 7th March.
Advance reviews:
This is Sampson's poetic masterpiece, and a landmark book. She creates intimacy of place through a chamber music of the natural and made worlds, honed observations and epiphanic 'instrusions'. With its layering of history and presence, Coleshill is a major contribution to the literature of the local.  John Kinsella
These poems of place, often troublingly dark, are sui generis in the way they use what's to hand to explore what's hidden. Fiona Sampson's technical subtlety is everywhere in evidence and her emotional range is startling. Coleshil is a book of rare power and depth.  David Harsent


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bookshops to charge for reading?

HarperCollins CEO Victoria Barnsley said in a recent radio interview she thinks the idea of bookshops charging 'users' to read is "not that insane". This is an extraordinary statement. A bookshop is a place where there are books for people to pick up, look at, read a few pages and decide whether to buy. It is not just a showroom for a publisher. Bookshops are places where you come across books you didn't know you wanted, where you can be advised by booksellers and fellow customers. And yes, we do already charge customers - the cost is built into the price we charge for the books. This is why books from independent booksellers are nearly always sold at the price printed on the cover, not discounted like they are by Amazon and other cut-price outlets. Because we have overheads - lighting, heating, rates, rent, staff costs, phone bills. We need to make enough to live on so we can continue to give people advice on books. 

I've heard there is a place in London where people are offered 'book therapy' - they pay for a slot with someone and discuss their current and past emotional states, and are then recommended a list of books to answer those needs. This, too, is extraordinary. It is what independent booksellers do all the time. People come into the shop and talk. They do not just want something to read. Everyone is different and, at some level,. is looking for the perfect book, the perfect match, something that can answer all those possibly unanswerable needs and questions. I never just recommend a book, I recommend a book to a particular person on the basis of what they have read in the past and what they tell me about themselves and what they might enjoy. It needn't be by an author they've read before - sometimes the enjoyment lies in having your boundaries extended, finding a new author or style to explore.

I am not a therapist. But there is something about the quest for a book that draws people together. I have learnt more about some of my customers than probably many of their close friends. One woman broke down in tears as she read me a Larkin poem and confessed she hadn't had sex with her husband for years although they love each other. Another stood and told me about the stillbirth of her first baby, over 20 years ago. A bookshop is a private, as well as a public space. It seems there is still a need for such spaces. In spite of everything you read about ebooks, the actual quantities of ebooks sold are still very low compared to printed books. There are still independent booksellers all over the country with customers (customers, not 'users') who value their services. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Mini Grey Celebrates National Library Day

Mini came along to Woodstock library this morning to celebrate National Library Day by reading from some of her books - the top photo shows her being introduced and welcomed by the librarian.

And here she is reading from Toys in Space, with some lovely cut-out figures she made of the toys:

She read from Toys in Space, Jim and, by special request at the end, Biscuit Bear. To find out more about Mini's work have a look at her website here.

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Joanna Trollope

The Methodist Church was full last night for Joanna Trollope's talk on her most recent novel, The Soldier's Wife. She told us about how the book grew from the theme of one of her earlier novels, The Rector's Wife, and that she wanted to explore a present-day marriage where the wife has to fit in with her husband's career. She researched the background to the book by spending a long time talking to soldiers and their families and visiting a base to see where and how they live.