The oldest bookshop in the world – or why Indie bookshops need your help. Now.

Something a little bit different to read by a crime author whose books I enjoy when not reading Nordic Noir…

Vaseem Khan

According to the Guinness Book of Records the world’s oldest bookstore is in Portugal. The Livraria Bertrand opened its doors in 1732 in Lisbon, and has never been shut. In the UK, our oldest bookstore is Hatchard’s (now a branch of Waterstones), inhabiting, by and large, the same prestigious Piccadilly location since 1797, and the holder of no less than three Royal Warrants. Such longevity is a rarity, and cannot be claimed of many such endeavours, particularly those operating as independents.


Bookselling in the world of the independent is no easy task. Margins are wafer thin, hours are often long, sales are rarely predictable. Why do the owners of such shops put themselves through it? The answer, as I have discovered over the years chatting to these intrepid entrepreneurs, is simple: it makes them happy. To be surrounded by books, to have the opportunity to talk books with customers, to…

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