No Ordinary Bookshop!

We’re a small, friendly, family-run business located in the beautiful South Somerset market town of Ilminster.  We started off as a bookshop in 2011 and in 2014 we added a selection of amazing premium wines and local ciders and ales.   We sell a broad range of fiction and non-fiction books for all ages, greeting cards, maps.   If we don’t have the book you’re looking for we’re happy to order it for you and can usually source most in-print books within a week.  We also order in second-hand books, and new DVDs and CDs at request.   We currently stock over 100 English and international wines and spirits, and selection of local ciders and ales.

Our opening hours are generally 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday through Saturday, although we sometimes may close for a half hour in the afternoon for the school run.


National Book Tokens

We’re often asked if we sell or accept National Book Tokens.  We do.  National Book Tokens make a great gift, especially for someone who’s difficult to buy for or who is an avid reader.   You can buy National Book Tokens at most good independent booksellers.  Waterstone and WH Smiths will accept National Book Tokens, but they don’t sell them.  They only sell their own gift cards.  We often get customers in who have been given a Waterstones or WH Smiths gift card and who are under the mistaken impression that it’s a National Book Token.   To allow the beneficiary of your gift the most options to spend it, always choose National Book Tokens.

Sir Vidia Naipaul – RIP

One of the “perks” (if you can call it that) of owning a bookshop is that you’re always being reminded in one way or another of how poorly read you are.   Time is finite, even for the most avid bibliophile, and even more so when you have a business to run and a family to raise.   I find that I’m most reminded of the gaps in my reading list when a well-known author passes away and I feel a twinge of guilt for not having read any of his or her works.   Luckily, in the case of V.S Naipaul who passed away the weekend just gone by, it’s just a twinge of guilt for having only read one of his novels, A Bend in the River.    A winner of both the Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature, Naipaul was highly regarded for his fiction, and his non-fiction travel-writing.   Born and raised into an Indian family in Trinidad but living most of his like in the UK, the recurring themes of Naipaul’s work were the legacies of decolonization and the dislocation felt by exiled protagonists living apart from their own culture.   This sounds like a recipe for earnest do-gooding, Guardian-approved political tracts, but in Naipaul’s hands was nothing of the sort.   Besides writing beautifully penned-stories he was un-sparing in his dissection of the societies in which his characters lived (in his fiction), or which he visited (in his travel-writings).   By all accounts VS Naipaul was a complicated, and not altogether pleasant human being, but he was a master story-teller as his literary legacy shows.  And now I better pick another of his books off the shelf and read it!

Summer reading – British Library Science Fiction Classics

For the past few years, one of our strongest selling lines have been the British Library Publishing Crime Classics, beautifully produced reprints of crime novels from the mid-20th Century and before.   I’m not an avid reader of crime fiction, but I do like my Sci-Fi, so I was pretty chuffed when I discovered that BL had decided to embark on a series of Science Fiction Classics.   The first two books in the series have now been published, and we’re very pleased to have them in stock.   Moonrise:  The Golden Age of Lunar Adventures, and Lost Mars:  The Golden Age of the Red Planet are anthologies of early Sci Fi stories about those two worlds written mostly before the start of the Space Race.  Some are by very well known Sci-Fi authors, but many are by relative unknowns.   Like the Crime Classics, they have beautifully illustrated covers and will make a fine addition to your bookshelf.   I know they’ll be finding their way onto mine.

Of course, if Sci-Fi isn’t to your taste, we have plenty of other light, summer-time reading for you to enjoy in your back yard, on the beach on at the camp site.  Why not drop in and check out our offerings.

Coming soon – Taunton Cider!

The original Taunton Cider Company traced its roots back to a farmers’ cooperative from the early 19th Century.   Following the Second World War it would grow to become the second largest cider company in the United Kingdom, known for products such as Blackthorn and Diamond White.   It was eventually bought out and subsumed into a large multi-national drinks company, and the Taunton Cider Company had seemingly disappeared forever.

However, in 2016 a group of cider enthusiasts discovered that the rights to the name Taunton Cider Company were available, and better yet, that the original Taunton-area orchards that had supplied the original company were in a position to supply apples.   The result is a reborn Taunton Cider Company.   Here at the Ilminster Bookshop, we’re very pleased that we’ll shortly be stocking three Taunton Cider Company products, their Medium, Dry, and Heritage ciders.  Look for them on our shelves some time next week.

Summer wines!

Whether you’re looking for an easy drinking tipple for those lazy hot summer days in the back yard or to serve at a barbeque, come in and check out our range of wines.  We have wines for all price points from or new budget range (pictured) at £4.95 a bottle, up to £30 or more.  We’re happy to recommend a wine that we think you’ll enjoy, whether by itself or with a meal.

Calling all aspiring writers!

It’s said that we all have one book within us.  But the hardest bit is getting it published.  While self-publishing is always an option nowadays, many aspiring authors may not want to go that route, preferring to find a publisher to handle the proofing, printing, and marketing.  But how to improve your chances of getting your manuscript accepted in an ever more cut throat industry?

The Ilminster Literary Festival recently hosted well-known author Fay Weldon, whose bibliography includes such well known books as The Life and Loves of a She Devil, and the Love & Inheritance Trilogy.   Now Fay has written a book addressing the problems that every new (and perhaps not-so-new) author faces in persuading a publisher to take up their work.  Whether it’s problems with the book itself, or problem with its presentation to the publisher, Ms Weldon takes the hopeful author through the steps necessary to improve his or her chances at reaching that goal.

Why Will No-one Publish my Novel will be available as of 12th July 2018.  RRP  £12.00.

Fake it ’til you make it!

After several years of being out of print , The Bluffer’s Guides are back!   Now you can impress your friends with your knowledge of opera, or bore your significant other with the finer points of beer.  The Bluffer’s Guides are published by Haynes Publishing Group, and they will be adding new titles every month.  They’re published in a standard paperback format and are priced at a very affordable £6.99.

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