6 months ago, we were one bookshop. Now we are two.

It seems incredible to us, even after being booksellers for 14 years, that we now have two bookshops.

It felt as though we talked about it for years, then couldn’t find the right location, the right building.

Bridgnorth had been in our mind for a while. A vibrant and historic market town, similar in many ways to Oswestry. Then on our way home from the Bookseller’s Conference in 2022, we spotted a previously overlooked unit. We thought ‘that’s it!’.  We phoned the agent that very day and although it took until October 2023 to open our doors, Booka Bridgnorth has reached its half-year anniversary.

From August 2023, Tim was almost a permanent resident in Bridgnorth – painting and project managing the shop fit. We had many sleepless nights wondering if we were doing the right thing, doubting our abilities and worrying over what books to select as our ‘Opening Stock’.

In late September, we recruited our Bridgnorth team. They are everything that we hoped they could be. Their enthusiasm, passion and dedication match that of our existing Oswestry team. None of them had been booksellers before, but each of them were readers or from backgrounds where literacy was intrinsic to what they did.

The week before we opened was nerve wracking, as we navigated the myriad of boxes that had taken up the total floor space of the shop. How would we ever get the books scanned in and on the shelves?  Teamwork and dedication saw us through.

Looking back after 6 months, it still seems surreal; a ‘pinch me’ moment every time we look at the shop, delighted that it is open and fully functioning. We have been overwhelmed by the response. People are so pleased to have an independent bookshop in the town. It has been truly heartfelt and so reassuring. It is a continuing delight to witness the surprise from customers who are still finding us.

At Booka, we pride ourselves on high levels of customer service, on creating a space where people can browse and experience books in a beautiful environment.

The shop is stunning – helped by a team who are full of ideas, forward thinking, who understand the community (both Belle and Hazel are from Bridgnorth) and are driven to create ‘more than just a bookshop’.

Our passion for books, our ethos and vision are in safe hands.

Have you met the team yet: Leigh, Belle, Caroline and Hazel?

Don’t delay, they are so friendly and welcoming, and they know just the book for you and you and you…..

Read on to find out more about their highlights so far –


Wow, 6 months have just flown by! I remember the early days of helping to set up the shop before opening and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in such a short period of time. For me, it’s rewarding to see the bookshop come to life and the impact it’s had on the community. I was surprised at how valued the shop is within Bridgnorth and beyond – even now, many of the locals pop in to say how much an independent bookshop was needed in the town. I’ve had some great discussions with locals and visitors alike, bonding over our love and passion for books. I read more widely now, learning about new authors and books that I wouldn’t have known about if not for interactions with our lovely customers and colleagues here, and at our flagship in Oswestry. It’s amazing to look back and see our first Booka Bridgnorth book clubs come to fruition, and their popularity only continues to grow. I run one of the book clubs, Thrilling Reads, with Caroline and we both get so excited each time we have an upcoming session. Two avid readers chatting with likeminded people about books – what could be more fun than that?

One of the many things I love about my job is that no two days are the same! There’s a lot of work that goes into bookselling (unfortunately, we don’t get to just sit and read beautiful books all day), and knowing that I have contributed in a small way to Booka Bridgnorth is a rewarding experience. Looking forward to the next six months, I’m excited to see Booka’s success continue to grow.


A few days before our six-month anniversary at Booka Bridgnorth, a customer came into the shop on a rainy morning. We had just finished putting out deliveries, so the tables were stocked with new titles. He spent a few minutes contemplating the shelves, flicking through a few books, before settling on one. We got chatting at the desk: this book, he said, was one of his favourites. He was delighted to have found it on our shelves.

The next day, when the sun was shining, I took my dog to a local coffee shop. She slept on my feet while I started reading the latest pick for our Cosy Book Club. I noticed the customer again at the back of the shop, one of our orange-printed paper bags tucked under his chair. Soon, his friend arrived, and over their teapots, he presented her with the book. She laughed, so warmed by the unexpected gift, and promised to start it that afternoon.

It is easy to forget how powerful books are, to forget how much it can mean for someone to share their favourite story with you over a cup of tea. Books connect us, they are a light in the dark places, they have accompanied us on adventures, created friendships, made us laugh and cry and choose to see the world with brighter colours.

This quiet moment is just one of many that I have been a part of in the last six months with Booka. Here, my days are built from brilliant conversations, laughter, and the peacefulness that only literature can provide. Here we have found books for reluctant readers, readers who seek adventure, who need solace, who need a challenge, who are looking to share their favourites with old friends.

My weeks are filled with author events, school visits, lovely days when our windows are painted, meetings of the cosiest book club you can find, and, most importantly, wonderful stories. I can never take being a bookseller for granted, particularly in a town where Booka has been so gratefully received. To advise, to converse, to laugh alongside; it is a privilege.

And every day, when a reader brushes their feet off on our doormat, takes a deep breath, and tells us how lovely the new books smell, I am reminded that I am part of something very special with Booka.


What an amazing 6 months it has been. From an empty shop to a thriving bookshop, it has been a pleasure to be part of it. Working as part of an incredible team – ensuring the best customer experience for all and keeping the shop looking amazing.

Our colleagues over in the Oswestry shop are always on hand to help guide us. Tim and Carrie are the most supportive, driven, and hardworking people I have ever had the pleasure to work for. So, is my dream job really what I expected it to be? It is indeed and has exceeded my expectations.

I have enjoyed meeting authors, setting up and helping at events, book club socials and running a book club. One of my fondest memories of the first 6 months was meeting debut author Leo Vardiashvilli, who wrote Hard by a Great Forest. He arrived at the shop clutching his fresh off the press proof, and I chatted to him and took photos. He was the first of many, but it will always be one that stands out, as I was incredibly nervous at the time.

Life as a bookseller at Booka Bridgnorth is not really about the big moments though. It is walking to the shop in the morning, standing outside, taking a deep breath and a moment to appreciate the beautiful windows before unlocking the door. It is about taking deliveries of brand-new books, curating the tables, and making it a safe space for people to enjoy.

At the end of the day, it is about making books accessible to all. I apply this to my mindset. My favourite part of the job is listening to customers’ needs and hand selling (or as I like to call it, heart selling) books.

Booka Bridgnorth is part of a great community, both far and wide, young and old alike. I am excited for the next 6 months and beyond.


I have spent an amazing 6 months gaining insight into the world of bookselling and what it means to be a bookseller, guided by Carrie and Tim, heading a wonderful, supportive, friendly team.

Our beautiful bookshop, with its new book smell, exciting daily book deliveries, author events and pop in visits, fantastic support from local – and visiting – customers, and (finally) sun shining in through our artistically decorated windows, is an absolute joy to work in.

It’s lovely to be part of a new business growing within my local community. Already, not just a place where people purchase – there’s lots of great book lover chat, story and craft times for children, we’ve started book clubs, have a growing list of events, and support local charities. I’ve enjoyed every day.

  • Carrie