Book Corner, Saltburn-on-Sea
I had a chat with Jenna who runs it.
Hi Jenna! Where can we find you?
Book Corner is in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, a lovely town on the North East coast of England. I’m right in the centre of town, just near the railway station.
Describe your bookshop in three words.
Small, colourful, welcoming.
What’s going to catch our eye as soon as we walk through the door?
Probably my display of children’s picture books. I’ve devoted a whole bookcase to very colourful and beautifully illustrated children’s books, which stands at the back of the shop facing the front door. I hope it makes the shop look very cheerful and welcoming!
What’s the best event you’ve ever done?
I’ve only been open a couple of months, so I’ve only had my Grand Opening event so far, which I held in late May. This was a lovely event. I had a number of local authors and poets reading in the shop at various points during the day, and I had complimentary refreshments for visitors. The weather was horrible – it rained nearly all day! – but a lot of people turned up to listen to the writers and support the shop.
I’m really looking forward to holding future events in the bookshop. Saltburn is holding a Food Festival in early August, and one of their guests is Sean Wilson, an actor turned chef who was in Coronation Street for 21 years. He’s going to hold a book signing in the shop, signing copies of his recipe book, The Great Northern Cookbook.
I’m also starting a book group, and we’re planning to meet in the shop once a month.
And your best customer moment?
I recommended The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion to a customer who was looking for her next read. She bought it and an hour or so later she wrote on my Facebook page to tell me how much she was enjoying it! As well as thinking that was a really nice thing for her to do, it also gave me a real buzz to know that my recommendations could work. I think books can be very personal things and everyone has different tastes, so it really boosted my confidence as a new bookseller.
Recommend a book you’ve been loving recently.
As mentioned above, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I’ve already recommended it to many people who have visited my shop, and I was delighted when quite a lot of them bought it and also enjoyed it. It’s about Don, a genetics professor who may have Asperger’s Syndrome. He wants to get married, so he devises a questionnaire to help him find his ideal partner. But in the course of doing this, he meets Rosie, who is looking for her biological father, and he decides to help her. In the grand tradition of romantic comedies, Rosie turns his world upside down and he finds himself falling for her, even though he’s convinced that she’s wrong for him. As well as being funny, I also found this novel extremely touching in parts.
Why did you become a bookseller?
I was made redundant last year after spending a few years working in a commercial art gallery. While working there I really enjoyed the retail aspects of the role, and when I left and found how difficult the job market is at the moment, I thought about opening my own shop. I’ve always been very passionate about books, and I soon realised that a bookshop was the only kind of shop I really wanted to open. It was also something that I felt was missing from my home town.
Why are you still a bookseller?
I’ve only been a bookseller for a short time, but already I’m finding it’s a job I love. I love working with people, talking to them about books, finding new books and making the shop look attractive. I hope it’s something I’m able to do for a very long time to come.
If you could open a bookshop anywhere else in the world, where would you open it and why?
Paris! Simply because I sometimes fantasise about living there. I recently made a Parisian-themed window display featuring all the Paris-set books I could get my hands on.
Sum up what books and bookshops mean to you in one sentence.
Books are a huge passion of mine and I feel that they make the world a richer place, and bookshops provide a wonderful environment in which to browse books and get personal recommendations, something which online shopping can’t replicate.