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New location, new owners, new chapter for town’s bookshop

PUBLISHED: 17:02 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 28 July 2020

Keith Britten and Pam Horrocks at the new independent book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Keith Britten and Pam Horrocks at the new independent book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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In an era when internet sales are booming and a recession may be just around the corner, you may not think it was the ideal time to open a bookshop.

Keith Britten and Pam Horrocks at the new independent book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMANKeith Britten and Pam Horrocks at the new independent book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

But Keith Britten, 53, and Pam Horrocks, 57, are quietly confident the new Holt Bookshop will be a success.

The business partners - who used to help out at a previous incarnation of the store in Appleyard - have taken it over since previous owner, David Makinson retired, and relocated the business to the nearby Lion House Court.

Mr Britten said that while they could never match the volume of internet retailers, the service the shop offered made them stand out.

He said: “It’s a difficult time to open a shop but it’s also a really exciting time to open. People in Holt want us to continue, and they’re really pleased the town will still have an independent bookshop.

Keith Britten and Pam Horrocks at the new independent book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMANKeith Britten and Pam Horrocks at the new independent book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

“Amazon is very clever, but you can’t browse online in the same way that you can do in a bookshop.”

Mr Britten said fears physical books would die out in the face of e-readers had proven unfounded.

He said: “Kindle sales peaked two years ago and have been slightly dropping ever since. Whereas the sales of physical books have started to increase again. People like the tactile nature of books, and they like to have their library of books. And today’s book covers really jump out.”

The new shop has an open, airy feel, and personal touches like an armchair with an ‘owl’ seat which Ms Horrocks upholstered.

New independant book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNew independant book shop opening in Holt, The Holt Bookshop, Lion Court Yard Holt. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

They plan to continue selling books by phone and mail order, delivering them around the Holt area, and have reserved Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for private shopping sessions.

Mr Britten said: “We’re going to close the doors to Joe Public and let people reserve 45-minute slots, where they can feel confident to wander around and browse.”

Mr Makinson originally opened the Holt Bookshop about 15 years ago, but when it closed due to lockdown, he decided not to reopen and pass the business on instead.

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Mr Britten said. “David has been really supportive, and we feel like we’re continuing a tradition, but in our own way.”

The shop’s first day of opening will be Saturday, August 1.

Summer reads: Mr Britten and Ms Horrocks’ top five suggestions

1. ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’ Dara McAnulty

Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of Dara McAnulty’s world, from spring to summer, autumn to winter, on his home patch, at school, in the wild and in his head. Evocative, raw and beautifully written, this very special book vividly explores the natural world from the perspective of an autistic teenager juggling homework, exams and friendships alongside his life as a conservationist and environmental activist.

2. ‘One Long and Beautiful Summer’ Duncan Hamilton

Duncan Hamilton has written some of the best books about sport in recent years. All lovers of cricket will love this book, it expresses the passion that millions like him feel for the beautiful game.

3. ‘The Second Sleep’ Robert Harris

From the international bestselling author of Fatherland and Munich, a gripping mystery and a fascinating cautionary tale. ”All civilizations consider themselves invulnerable; history warns us that none is.” A misty, medieval England is the setting for this novel where a young priest is sent out to a remote village to bury the vicar who died under, perhaps, mysterious circumstances. Like the priest, the reader must follow the clues to find the story behind the given facts. Soon, the reader realizes this is not a story from the past, but from the future, when civilizations collapses and must be re-discovered. However, science and research are forbidden, and the dead priest had evidently been involved in digging for artefacts from the past.

4. ‘Too Much and Never Enough’ Mary L Trump

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man is a tell-all book written by Mary L. Trump, a niece of Donald Trump. In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man he is.

5. ‘Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy’ Ella Mills Woodward

100 all-new quick and easy plant-based recipes by bestselling author Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella. Ella’s new collection shows us that vegan cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. It’s easy to embrace a plant-based lifestyle with her fuss-free, simple recipes that cater for our busy live.


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