Have you ever dreamed of opening up a bookshop? It is, after all, the perfect excuse to surround yourself with a beautiful collection of titles to share with your community. For sisters Amanda Davidge (left) and Rebecca Bettin (right), the dream is about to come true. While still in the early stages of planning the launch of Lost in Books, they agreed to give us a behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to set up a new bookshop.
Amanda and Rebecca live in a small town of Lostwithiel, which is known as the antique capital of Cornwall. In the past they have had various careers including picture researcher, accountant, toy seller, and café owner. After growing up in Cornwall in their parent’s hotel on the cliff, Amanda and Rebecca felt the strong pull of the sea and, after having children of their own, returned to the South West.
Both sisters have an inherent love of reading and all things book-related. Rebecca has just finished an MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University and Amanda is part-way through her masters in Authorial Illustration. Lostwithiel has an active cultural community but doesn’t have a bookshop of its own. Seeing the gap in the market, these book lovers began their plan. Since both Amanda and Rebecca have experience in running shops, they’ll be focusing on creating a unique place in their community that will promote the love and value of reading.
As brand-new booksellers, they have many ideas on how to make their business distinctive. Their collaboration with the local community will assist in setting up the bookshop up as a creative hub. In addition to selling both new and second-hand books, Amanda and Rebecca hope to run literary workshops. They even plan to organise a book group for the entire town that will extend onto Facebook. Lost in Books will be the place to visit in the South East of Cornwall for all things literary. The sisters will also have a social enterprise element, offering donated books for resale with proceeds going to a charity.
Amanda and Rebecca are going to get started with a pop-up shop to explore their ideas at the beginning of March and are hoping to have a permanent location by June. However, as anyone who has tried to set-up a business knows, unexpected hurdles are unavoidable. The landlord of the shop the sisters are hoping to rent permanently has not yet committed – but fingers crossed!
Like most indie booksellers, Amanda and Rebecca are worried about keeping the momentum of the new shop going, especially during the winter months when, as they say: ‘tumbleweed blows down the main street’. But the sisters are more excited than nervous: Amanda is absolutely thrilled about keeping their own book collection, while Rebecca can’t wait to meet new people, discuss books and write as an aspiring author herself. All of their energy at the moment is focused on creating the right atmosphere for their shop. Hoping to move away from the ‘fusty, musty image of a second-hand bookshop’, the women want to create a warm and welcoming space where they can help people develop and foster their love of reading.
Lost in Books will stock new and good quality second-hand books with subjects ranging from nature and wildlife, through to novels, craft and children’s. Cornish authors and travel books will have a place too, with Amanda and Rebecca offering a new book ordering service as an alternative to the online retailers.
Lost in Books will be holding their first pop-up event the first week of March. Keep up to date on their progress and show your support by following them on Twitter and Instagram at @lostinbookshop and Facebook at Lost in Books.