Oct 2, 2011

The Sunday Salon - A Visit to the Book Barge

The Sunday Salon.com

The Book Barge is an independent bookshop/boat currently on a six month tour of the UK to promote independent bookselling. I had heard of the Book Barge in the past, but I had no idea of its present whereabouts – so imagine my delight when I came across it moored on the canal during a lunchtime stroll on Friday.

The Book Barge may not offer the huge variety of a place like Barter Books or have the impressive architecture of Livraria Lello, but what they do have is plenty of charm, very welcoming staff, a lovely selection of new and used books and bookish accessories, and very inviting prices – all of which adds up to a unique book buying experience. Here’s a glimpse of my visit:









































Here are my purchases, which I can’t wait to dive into:


The Book Barge’s next destination is Skipton – do visit them if you have the chance!

What is the most unusual or memorable bookshop you have been to?

42 comments:

  1. Tony: Close - Manchester.

    Kelly: Yes, isn't it?

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  2. What an unusual idea! I hope you enjoy your new purchases.

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  3. How completely lovely! I have heard of them too but would have no idea where they are lurking...

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  4. What a totally fun idea! I love all the pictures! ...makes me feel as if I've been there...

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  5. This is the coolest thing ever. I wish the barge was seaworthy and up for a transatlantic voyage. I would love to see it come up the Potomac and dock on the canal in Georgetown. I particularly like the swap board.

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  6. That is absolutely fantastic. How creative and unique and just the perfect way to capture book love so intensely. I agree with Thomas as well - would be wonderful if they came across to this side of the pond! The books look intriguing and I'm sure you'll have plenty of fun with those. And on a side note, isn't this day and age just incredible with technology? Just a few years ago, we wouldn't have had the ability to snap photos at the drop of the hat. Cell phone cameras are marvelous :)

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  7. Helen: I'm sure I will! I've been dying to read more Delafield since Consequences and Provincial Lady.

    Yvann: Hopefully they'll stop near you one of these days!

    Jill: I'm glad to have been able to give you the chance to visit it vicariously!

    Thomas: Now you have me daydreaming of a large floating bookshop travelling around the world...

    Natalie: I was actually luckier than that - my boyfriend was carrying his good camera, since the weather was so lovely and perfect for canal-side photos, so I was able to get better ones than I would have with a cell phone! But your point about technology still stands, of course.

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  8. What a cool, unique bookshop! I wish it would visit my part of the world.

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  9. Looks lovely! I'd love to visit a book barge!

    We don't have a book barge, but we do have one library boat :) here in Finland operating in the archipelago. Here's a 3 min video (in Swedish) about the boat: http://www.kirjastokaista.fi/video/9593/bokbåten%20-%20väståbolands%20skärgårdsbibliotek

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  10. Great pics! I've never been in a bookstore so unique.

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  11. OMG utter coolness! Hey we have an Intercoastal Waterway over here in Florida. We need something like this.

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  12. Wow, that looks awesome! I'd love to visit one of those.

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  13. Okay, that's a seriously awesome bookstore. I wish we had stuff like that here. I've been in plenty of wonderful, creaky old bookstores with strange cubbyholes and attics you have to stoop over to explore, but I've never been in such a unique bookselling space.

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  14. I've heard so much about the Book Barge, but have never seen inside it so I was thrilled to get a peek. I've never really been in an unusual book shop. :(

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  15. This is the first time I have heard of the Book Barge! I must find out if it is coming this way. It looks fantastic.

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  16. How cool! I loved the sign about swapping. Such a neat idea.

    I don't know that I've been to any particularly crazy bookstores, though. I've been to one in Washington DC a couple of times that's pretty cool. It's just in this old townhouse that is covered in books in every nook and cranny. Going up the stairs is precarious due to the fact that the majority of the stairs themselves are stacked with books.

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  17. Now this sounds like my kind of book shop! And they're visiting Skipton (as you said) and Leeds either side of my week off. Looks like I'll be making a trip at some point... :)

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  18. Wow that is really awesome! I'm glad you got the chance to go! :)

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  19. That's so cool! Thanks for sharing so many photos! I've never been to a bookstore that wasn't a traditional, brick-and-mortar establishment. I've just discovered, though, that there is a pop-up used bookstore where I live. They're mobile, somehow, showing up at different community events to sell used books. I'm hoping to run across them at some point!

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  20. This is quite possibly the coolest bookstore I have ever seen! I am so thankful that you posted pictures of your visit. Just shaking my head in wonder over here!

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  21. That is the coolest bookstore EVER! Think you could convince them to sail on over here to the States? :)

    My most memorable bookstore isn't all that unusual, but it stands out in my memory because it's the one I used to frequent when I was in high school. It was close enough to campus that I could walk there during lunch, and I used to pick up old paperbacks for $1.07 (all paperbacks were 1/2 cover price, with a minimum of a dollar, plus sales tax). The bookstore is gone now, unfortunately. Too bad.

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  22. Interesting! I'd love to visit one if given the chance!!

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  23. I so want a book from The Book Barge! Near New Haven Conn, in the U.S. there is a store called The Book Barn that is in an actually barn, down a long, unpaved country road. That is probably the most unusual one I've been to.

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  24. I love it! What a clever concept to promote reading and your two books look great!

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  25. This is so nice and I am very envious of your choices! haven't been able to dig out Delafield as yet.

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  26. Wow! Great pictures, a great adventure!

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  27. How cool is that! A barge, with books. What a fun thing to come across while out walking :)

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  28. Oh, I just love this!! Thanks so much for all the pictures.

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  29. So cool! Thank you for sharing the pictures with us.

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  30. Ah! So cool! I've definitely never been in a bookstore that unusual. Last year on vacation I visited one that was a converted house and each room - even the former bathroom, had a different theme. There were books piled up to the ceilings and on the stairs and along hallways. It was pretty wonderful.

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  31. I love it! Makes me wish I was touring England on a barge full of books.

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  32. Love the pictures of the book barge! :) Wish I could visit it too.

    Well, the last unusual bookstore I went to was the Logos Hope - floating book fair which docked at my state in Malaysia last month. I wrote a post about it.

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  33. This is really a beautiful concept - Book Barge! The pictures are beautiful! Your new acquisitions are nice! Hope you enjoy reading them. I remember you writing about Delafield's 'Dairy of a provincial lady'. Thanks for writing about Book Barge, Ana :)

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  34. So happy to see that literature is alive and well in the UK! Love the idea of the Book Barge, though I wonder if something would be as successful in the Americas... I'd like to think so!

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  35. The most memorable bookshop for me is Browser's Bookshop in Porthmadog, North Wales a spot I have holidayed at since I was a small child. It just so happens that this weekend I was back there and still love the shop as much as I did when I was a child

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  36. How lovely. I love stumbling across bookshops in the most unlikely places:) It's like Aladdin's cave, isn't it?

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  37. Most awesome bookstore ever! :D And I didn't even know it existed!

    I liked The Way Things Are, but I found the life of the main character too depressing to enjoy her wit and humour much.

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  38. Ok, this is by far THE coolest bookstore I've ever seen. What a neat experience!

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  39. Thanks for sharing so many pictures -- what a great idea! Glad you found a few books to purchase too!

    I can't say I've been to any unusual book shops, but I'm going to the States next week and I'm hoping to visit The Montague Bookmill (which is located in an 1842 gristmill). They have the best slogan: "Books you don't need in a place you can't find." How can I resist??

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