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My Favourite Bookshop

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights

Jenny Kingsley


I’m a lucky gal: within walking distance of my home in central London there are ten bookshops. But my favourite one is over a hundred miles away, in the centre of Bath. It’s called Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. 

When I stride over the threshold, I feel as if I am stepping into a trusted friend’s house. I find great books, cream-painted walls, wooden floors, a blazing fire on chilly days and a loo lined with bookish clippings. The owners, Nic and Juliette Bottomley, have imbued the shop with a happy spirit of place where books, literary endeavour and people are cherished.

The Bs used to be high-flying city lawyers, but when they were on honeymoon in America they decided that there was more to life than climbing the corporate ladder. So, inspired by a couple of successful independent bookshops in America, long walks and intimate talks, they decided to sell what they loved – not each other, but books.

Nic and Juliette offer an eclectic selection; quality counts, not volume; selling bestsellers is not the ultimate goal. Each month they feature a country and works associated with it, be they fiction, history, travel, cookery or anthropology. There is a bookcase devoted to small publishers’ literature, and they host evenings with local authors and wine. Nic writes a blog for Guardian Unlimited about being an independent bookseller; and the British Book Industry has just named Mr B’s the South West and Wales Independent Bookshop of the Year. Not bad for a two-year-old! 

But what’s extra, extra special about Mr B’s is the conversation. We always have a chat about a book or two or three, the life-work balancing act, and wind up with a bit of homespun philosophy. Without fail, I leave the shop feeling as if mind and body have been replenished and, of course, with a new book (or two or three) in hand.


Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights
14/15 John Street
Bath BA1 2JL
T 01225 33 11 55


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