On Monday, Blackwell’s on Broad Street will have been open again for a month after the longest closure in its 141 year history.
But things haven’t been all bad, because even while the shop was closed, Blackwell’s was still selling thousands and thousands of books all over the world through its website.
“what this year has shown is that there is an enduring love of books, reading and proper bookshops”
“We know that many people really turned to reading during the lockdown, as escapism, a way of making the most of time at home but also as a way of keeping informed about what was going on in the world,” Blackwell’s Charlie Bush says.
Which is why Blackwell’s is really pleased to be launching its new Book Spa service this summer, a personalised and tailored consultation service to help readers of all ages discover their next favourite book and an author they are going to love.
So what does the new Book Spa service entail? “An initial phone conversation is followed by a visit to the shop and a (socially-distanced) sit down with one of our most knowledgeable booksellers who will take the reader through a carefully selected list of recommended books, personalised to them,” Charlie explains.
Blackwell’s has also got all sorts of other great initiatives coming up this summer including a children’s Summer Holiday Reading Challenge, bookish treasure hunts and our board game café.
In short, for Oxford’s globally famous bookshop, it’s business as usual.
“We’re very proud to have kept readers in books. Everyone in Oxford and the world at large continues to face uncertainty and Blackwell’s is no different. But what this year, and this last month since we have opened, has shown is that there is an enduring love of books, reading and proper bookshops,” Charlie continues.
“Over the time that Blackwell’s doors have been closed, as well as sending books all around the country, we’ve had lots of time to think about what’s special and important about proper bookshops.
“Knowledgeable and expert booksellers who can share their love of books and give great tailored recommendations is absolutely at the heart of that.”
“It has been wonderful to open the shop to the public again and welcome back so many customers to the bookshop as a safe haven for book lovers. Our customers tell us that they feel reassured by all the precautions we’ve taken to keep them safe, which means that our overall mission of putting the right books into people’s hands is unchanged since 1879.”