I'm a keen bibliophile (book lover) and enjoy browsing for bargains in charity shops and second-hand bookshops throughout Britain.
Here are my views on what makes a good second-hand bookshop.
1. Tardis-like quality. The best bookshops always look far smaller on the outside than they do one you enter them. Part of the fun is walking past shelves and shelves of dusty and obscure books. A basement is always a god sign-it feels more secret, like a cave.
2. Wide variety of sections. I'd expect a good second-hand bookshop to have around thirty different categories. I look at humour, fiction, classics,biography, media and journalism, magazines (sold in many second-hand bookshops) and politics.
3. Unobtrusive staff. Bans on taking bags downstairs seem to be unavoidable, although CCTV can't be that expensive, but I do like to be left in a world of my own. Helpfulness when asked a question, though, is essential.
4. If the bookshop is expensive, it does help to have a bargain section, to entice those with little money. Some bookshops sell books for £4 and up-one wonders how much money they make.
5. Very little clutter. Books should not be hidden behind displays or in glass-fronted cabinets.There shouldn't be ornaments around as "decoration".
6. Hazard indication.If some stock is in rooms with low ceilings or beams, there should be warning notice on the walls near the room and elsewhere in the shop.
7. Space to move. As much as possible, two people should be able to fit into the spacc between bookshelves. This is not always possible, but during peak periods it may help avoid people being trapped in corners.
8. Clear policy.If people bringing in food, drink or dogs (except guide dogs)is a problem, there should be a large notice outside the shop and another near the front. Don't expect people to read your mind.
9. Information. Although it's not a tourist information centre, it helps if the owner knows local bus routes and the nearest car park. People may want to recommend the bookshop to others.
There should beleaflets with your opening hours and address on. Can be as tacky as the owners wants.
10. That "something different" feel. Maybe the shop has a theme, for example.
Charity shops are somewhat different, having only a shelf or two of books among reams of clothes and vases. However, they are still worth a look and tend to cluster together like campers round a fire-less roast chestnuts though.