Paignton – a bustling, touristy sea-side town, resplendent with arcades and charity shops. Paignton offers to a tourist every part of what a British holiday should be, including sticky rock and postcards. It also offers to those holiday makers who want to escape from their holiday escape, in the form of three bookshops in which are contained hundreds of journeys to embark upon.
Of the three, Parkside Books is most ideally situated right among the arcades. On your way to Lidl you may pop into Parkside and pick up value books, too. ‘Budget Fiction’ a sign proclaims in the window. This shop does exactly what it says on the tin.
Our second bookshop is perhaps not so perfectly situated but draws in booklovers regardless. Flying the flag for independent bookshops, The Torbay Bookshop was busy as I stepped in. Colourful, personable and welcoming, the bookshop offers the unique advice-over-the-counter with friendly staff that is so hard to find in big chain bookshops. That, and the shelves are continually updated. The shop has a clear layout and offers, as any good bookshop should, a book ordering service from reliable and nifty resources. It is efficient and yet holds a lot more personality than some other shops out there. And what about the book signings and other literature based events? The Torbay Bookshop is rather brilliant. Why not enjoy a Thornton’s coffee whist contemplating a possible purchase?
Readers may have noticed a distinct lack of bookshops of the second-hand variety in Paignton. Not to fear! Situated close to The Torbay Bookshops lies your redemption. Epicentre has a distinct hand-made quality to it, and you would be excused of thinking, as you step in, that this was somebody’s living room. Deep, comfortable sofas entice readers to perch in bliss and contemplate the vast array of books on the walls. Books surround every surface and they all seem hand-picked. It has books whose condition makes it seem unread, practically new: and it has those delicious old books that mark this shop from the rest. You may notice that a coffee machine lies behind a homely counter, and that there is a menu offering delectable dishes at moderate prices. Epicentre is a gem of Paignton, offering creative workshops and a variety of good quality books. Doubly satisfying, is you are a vegetarian, for there is no mention of meat anyway on the menus.
All good things come in threes, someone once may have or may have not said. The bookshops in Paignton cater to every kind of book browser, including vegetarians and chocoholics. It offers the best of books, in a variety of different shops, and it is a town that is very definitely well read.