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Derbyshire’s Finest Independent Bookshops

Just in time for National Bookshop Day on Saturday 1st October, check out our hand-picked list of the best independent bookshops Derbyshire has to offer

There is something so peaceful about setting foot in a bookshop that makes it a place you’re happy to while away time. Screens hold such a special part of our attention that books are often left on the side. Catching up with TV (Strictly now for me) means prioritising moving image- especially if you’re talking about it with people at work or your family. Autumn however brings a real sense of hibernation and hunkering down (epitomised by Dormouse Books’ sweet little logo). It makes sense therefore to have National Bookshop day at the advent of harvest. If you’re a regular reader who tends to get out of the habit (hello!) or someone with a voracious appetite who reads one after the other, then these wonderfully independent bookshops will be your bag. Recommendations (‘I’ve read this… what shall I try next?’), undiscovered gems as well as classics: it still amazes me that there are still so many stories and voices to be read. 

Also check out your local book clubs too- because a deadline might be your best book reading tool. We haven’t yet been to either but have fallen in love with the online vibe of the Pomegranate Book Club in Chesterfield and the Coworking Corner book club in Matlock.

What books have I loved this summer? 

All My Mothers, Still Life, Small Pleasures and Shuggie Bain. 

Check out the Lovely Local Indie crowdsourced list of 10 books women like you loved.

Favourite Independent Bookshops in Derbyshire

Scarthin Books, Cromford

Park opposite the pond and walk round. There is street parking in front but fills up quickly. 

Without a doubt, Scarthin Books is one of the best bookshops not only in Derbyshire but in the country. Regularly featured in the Guardian’s ‘best book shop’ lists and a place for literary pilgrimage, the book shop stands a towering three floors tall with every nook hiding something contained. The ground floor is new fiction as well as second hand; a quick shuffle up stairs takes you to the famous art room, well-stocked children’s room and then geography. Behind the sliding door is the fantastic vegetarian cafe. The bookshop is welcoming and a self-styled ‘homely refuge’ which means you can be sure to make it a destination.  

Can’t get to Cromford? Email Nick with your order.

The next event? Apple day on October 15th (which is not necessarily book related but quintessentially autumnal). There’ll be music, games and dancing. 

Dormouse Books, Belper

Recently opened by author and poet Stephanie Limb and experienced retail worker Tracy Beardmore, Dormouse Books is another welcome addition to Belper’s vibrant shopping scene (it was recently voted the best high-street in the country!). Both Stephanie’s and Tracy’s experience with young people form the heart of Dormouse Books – they are on a mission to get more children reading. Not only do they donate their profits to initiatives to allow young people to access books (one in five children do not own any of their own) but they also run events showcasing the magic of narratives.

The next event? Casper Salmon reads his book How to Count to One at 4pm on the 7th October. Check out their Halloween activities (potions!) and poetry events in November.

Toy Stories Books, Matlock 

The little sister of High Peak Books, Toy Stories was faced with the devastating floods of 2019 which delaying their opening. Despite this, they’ve established themselves in the centre of Matlock, just off Crown Square and are a warm and welcoming shop for children. Children’s picture books, chapter books and craft books exist alongside pocket money toys, nursery decor and Orchard Toys games. With a super reward scheme and books (really) reasonably priced, like Scarthins, we never leave empty-handed and always pop in here first when we have a present to buy a little person. 

High Peak Bookstore, near Buxton

A wonderful just-out-of-town book stop. Excellent local crafts exist alongside brand new books (most of them less than half price- they are such excellent value). The charming children’s room just off the cafe meant that while we waited for brunch, we could distract our little one. The cafe fills up quickly but it is spacious. Naturally the weekend is busiest so visit on a weekday to take your time. Plenty of parking when we arrived at opening on a Sunday however the car park was filling up quickly as we were leaving. Read Molly’s previous review of the excellent cafe here.

Other great independent book shops in Derbyshire:

High Street Books and Records – New Mills

Hawkridge Books- Bakewell

Hassop Station near Bakewell

Scriveners Buxton

Read more of Charlotte’s posts:

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