Celebrating Bookshop Day

Saturday the 7th of October marks this year’s Bookshop Day, a celebration created by the wonderful Books Are My Bag campaign. Books Are My Bag is a nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops.

This year, for Bookshop Day, we’re choosing to celebrate by giving you an insight into a Day in the Life of a Bookseller, through our Retail Team Leader, Emma.

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Portrait of a Bookbarn Vendor

With over 4000 vendors at BBI, we specialise in the art of finding new homes for your unwanted books. With our orders shipping worldwide, that might mean exploding your bookcase on a global scale – and continuing the journey of each and every book you once owned and (hopefully!) read yourself, once upon a time.

To give you an idea of this, we’ve created a portrait of one of our vendors and taken a look at the places their unwanted books have ended up.


Janey has worked for Bookbarn since March 2015 and became a vendor shortly after joining us. She had a mix of novels (piled up from a previous job at Waterstones) and old university books she was looking to make a bit of extra cash from. Here are just a handful of the places her books have found new homes and owners!



She says: ‘It’s funny to think of all the books I once owned in their new homes, being read by new owners. I love the fact a guidebook about weird parts of London I bought when I lived there is now in Nigeria. Or that someone in Canada is reading one of my old economics books!

You can find out more about becoming a vendor with us here.

Or to speak to one of our staff, simply call us on 01761 451 777 or send an email to bookbarn@bookbarninternational.com.

Banned Books Week At The Barn

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This week our lovely shop team leader Emma has been working on a fabulous display for Banned Books Week 2017. Banned Books week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read without censorship.

We often imagine the banning of books to be something of the past and which no longer happens. But the chief executive of Index on Censorship has recently suggested that modern forms of censorship, owing to ‘online mobs’ on social media, has actually caused a surge of censorship complaints to  publishers and authors put under a huge amount of pressure to succumb to their demands.

Banned Books week first started in the US in 1982 after the American Library Association had reported a sudden surge in attempts to have books taken out of libraries, bookshops and schools. Since that time, more than 11,300 books have been ‘challenged’ – and the number per year is said to be rising all the time.

Here is just a small selection of previously banned books we were able to find after a quick sweep of our shop.

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The Weird & Wonderful Things We Find In Our Books

Books are like people – they contain whole unique histories. You might remember the place you bought a book, or the person you were with when you bought it – even what the weather was like when you took it home!

Working at Bookbarn, our staff have also come to realise books contain even more tangible histories of their own – you can tell this from what you find inside them. Because if there’s one thing a book is good for other than reading – it’s storing little mementos in to keep them safe.

So for this latest blog post, we’ve collected a few of the weirdest/wackiest things we’ve collected from books in recent years for you to peruse at your leisure – enjoy!


We come across old family photos at the barn all the time. The old ones are the best ones – take for example the egg and spoon race you can see below!



Bookmarks are a really interesting window into the world of books and the history of bookshops. Here you can see homemade as well as commercial bookmarks – including ones from Waterstones, Daunt Books and Green Leaf books – Green Leaf was based in Bristol and closed down in 2005.



We won’t tell you what they say – but we find love letters in our books all the time!



Old slides are very interesting and rarely come with any context – you might find handwriting on the back of an old photo, but not so much with slides – making them more of a mystery.


Newspaper Cuttings

Old habits die hard, and it would seem that booklovers are also big fans of cutting out sections of newspapers they find interesting. You can see here that this excerpt from the Sunday Times on 8th October 2000 clearly meant something to someone!


We Are Now Taking Bookings For Our Second Winter Fayre!

Following the phenomenal success of our first ever Winter Fayre last year, we are pleased to announce we will be holding another this year on Thursday 30th November. 

Stalls were snapped up early last year and as we have limited spaces, we would advise booking early if you wish to avoid disappointment.

To book a stall, please call us on 01761 451 777 or send us an email at bookbarn@bookbarninternational.com. Stalls cost £20 and payment is required upon making your booking.








We Are Proud To Be Participating In The Great Bath Feast 2017!

We are excited to announce that this year Bookbarn’s Full Stop Cafe will be part of The Great Bath Feast. This autumn we are coming together with businesses all over Bath and the surrounding area to give locals and visitors the chance to taste new flavours and explore wonderful culinary delights in curious settings!

On October 5th we will be hosting a delicious Harvest Supper and Scrabble Tournament – which promises to be a lighthearted feast of food, fun and wordplay.  You’ll be able to share a two-course vegetarian supper which celebrates seasonal fruit and vegetables, and engage in a fast-paced team scrabble tournament with slightly bent rules and bonus points for food-related words.



The cost of the Supper is £15 per head – booking is essential. All you need to do is call Beki on 01761451777, or email us at bookbarn@bookbarninternational.com.



And if you can’t make the Harvest Supper, you can still enjoy the benefits of the Great Bath Feast with us by joining us for a Tenner Treat any time from Saturday 23rd September – Sunday 8th October.  Come out to the countryside and try out our new Ploughman’s.  Two tasty lunches for just £10 in the book-lined café. It’s a wholesome, earthy affair; local bread and cheese, homemade chutneys, pickles and relishes, and a glass of local apple juice to wash it down. No booking is necessary for this. We hope to see you soon!



MP Jacob Rees-Mogg visits Bookbarn

Last Friday, 1st September, staff from Bookbarn were paid a visit by MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Over coffee and cafes from the Full Stop Cafe, staff discussed the future of the bookselling industry with the prominent politician – as well as matters of a more local concern.

These included questions about the frequency of buses to Hallatrow, Paulton and Temple Cloud – access to the city of Bath – and the lack of pavements on and around the A37.

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After a tour of our warehouse and an enthusiastic inspection of the Darwin Rare Books Room, Mr. Rees-Mogg praised Bookbarn for being ‘a repository of knowledge in rural Somerset.’

He went on to say that the local region had once been home to major employers -including a network of coal mines, the Purnells printing business and Fry’s Chocolate Factory – but the local economy was now being driven by a host of small businesses such as Bookbarn.

It was a good opportunity for us to broach some important topics for people in the local area – as well as being able to showcase our Rare Books Room, which we are very proud of!

Bookbarn pitches to the Dragons!

Last Sunday, 27th August, you might have caught our Chairman, William Pryor, and  Fenna Leake (joint CEO) on BBC2’s Dragon’s Den! They delivered a strong pitch to five of the Dragons – including new Dragons Jenny Campbell and Tej Lalvani – when filming in May.


You can watch the full, Bookbarn-featured clip from the show here:


Appearing on Dragon’s Den gave us the chance to introduce Bookbarn to a wider audience. The book industry is changing, and we wanted to demonstrate the possibilities for booksellers in the future.

Investment from one or more of the Dragons would have been very beneficial to the business. Not only would they provide the cash for our development projects they would have brought with them valuable business knowledge and support too. While we are still actively seeking investment to advance our development plans (and have one or two possibilities in the works) we are confident we can continue grow the business without a cash injection. Selling used books online is a tough market and we have a long hard slog ahead of us, which we are fully committed to undertaking.

Although we didn’t leave with an investment from the Dragons, we certainly left with our heads held high – and Fenna receiving much praise for her credibility and knowledge from entrepreneur Touker Suleyman.

We hope you enjoy the show, and please do let us know if you have feedback! Just contact our customer care team at  bookbarn@bookbarninternational.com.