Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Ripping Yarns Bookshop - we need your help

'Ripping Yarns bookshop is a treasure trove.' - Michael Palin.

So, folks, times are tough at the moment. Ripping Yarns, the antiquarian bookshop I work at in north London (and the home of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops), has been a bookshop since the 1930s. We specialise in antiquarian children's books but stock all kinds of other fiction, and everything from comics and old newspapers to poetry, plays, art, and much much more. Celia Hewitt, the wife of poet Adrian Mitchell, took over the shop in the 1980s, and next month we'll find out the details for our new lease. Unfortunately, it looks as though we might not be able to stay open, which would be very sad indeed.

So, if you're in London, or will be visiting the city soon, do come and say hello. We're just opposite Highgate tube station, and opening times are on our website. If you're further afield and you'd like a present for your friend or yourself, you can find some of our stock online over here. We're happy to post to anywhere in the world. You can also email us about any books you might be looking for and we'll have a hunt for you. We've got a lot of stock off site, so if you're planning to visit us for something in particular, let us know beforehand and we'll make sure that the book is in the shop when you come in.

Apart from anything, wherever in the world you happen to be, if you have a local bookshop and you'd like them stay open - please do support them in any way you can. :)

We'll keep you posted about the bookshop, and hope to see some of you soon.

Lots of love. x


  1. Lots of good luck! Unfortunately I live far away from the UK (in Romania), but I think your bookshop looks amazing, what you have been doing is simply great and I have lots of fun reading both of the "Weird things customers say..." books. I wish you all the best, so that next time when I am there I come and visit your shop in search of some delightful books.


  2. I hope Ripping Yarns can stay open. *fingers crossed* for you and Ripping Yarns.

  3. Dear Jen;
    My husband and I own a small used book shop in Albuquerque, NM. We were faced with a similar situation not too long ago - someone had taken over the property where we had been operating for ten years and wanted to substantially raise the rent. Our lease was up and we had to decide if we would simply retire the shop, or find a new home. The following day we found that new home for substantially less rent, in a lovely neighborhood, and business continues. Change may be coming for you and we hope things turn out as well as it has for us. Keep the faith, and keep fighting the good fight. What you do is priceless and important.
    Yours in the struggle,

  4. Jen and Celia, worry not! I have placed the turban of the future upon my brow and can see that the new lease is going to be almost what it is now, and some small improvements made. The owner knows that with the new economic uncertainty and your very long residence at that address, they would be foolish to push you out. With very few tenants of your nature opening shops, they need to look after you. Sometime business can see the benefit of working together! All will be well and the doors will remain open.
    The month of May will spring you both into a summer of good fortune and enjoyment of what you have and have made will be yours. Cause I said dam it!

  5. Jen, I have tweeted but can you get a Pinterest widget on your site? There is loads on interest in bookshops on there, especially one as beautiful as yours.
    PS Congrats on your book success!

  6. Hang in there if you possibly can...please! I guess you and Celia have thought about getting the media on side (and that can do wonders) all I can say is I have my paws crossed for you!

  7. Ripping Yarns was always one of my favourite shops growing up. I remember hearing some weird conversations in there myself. I really hope you can stay open.

  8. Ripping Yarns was always one of my favourite shops growing up. I remember hearing some weird conversations in there myself. I really hope you can stay open.

  9. I really hope you can stay open. I'll come and visit and buy as soon as I can. I have a history of children's lit element in a course I run and we love handling old books as a part of it.

  10. Good luck both, let's hope things go your way.

  11. Best of luck with your store, I am not local but it is tragic to lose bookstores, which has already somewhat happened locally. I can vouch for your selection. I am Canadian and Pierre Berton is my literary hero, you have a Berton book available despite the fact that you are in North London.

    Online PhD in Education

  12. Oh, I do hope you will remain, I've always thought, that if I ever come to London, I'd love to see that shop! Keeping my fingers crossed (and planning a visit to my favourite shop here in Finland. Surely my partner will realise that I have to support them!).