Best Books is an independent discount book shop in Exmouth that first opened in July 2003, selling discounted books at a time when such book stores were few and far between. Over ten years later, discounted books have become the norm and shops like Best Books are competing in a flooded market where online giants like Amazon, and physical chain stores, such as Waterstones and WHSmith, threaten the existence of small independents. Whereas these massive companies usually purchase their stock on a sell-or-return basis, every book for sale at Best Books has been selected and purchased by the owner of the shop. Trying to predict what your customers will buy is surely not for the faint of heart, as each book that doesn't sell eats away at any profit. The fact that Best Books remains in business in 2014 is testament to the knowledge and experience of the owner.
Inside the shop, books are arranged by genre, then alphabetically by author, making it simple to find what you're looking for. Soothing music is played at an appropriate level, adding to the calm atmosphere, and the shop floor is well laid out and tidy. There is ample room to get around and customers are free to browse in peace without being immediately pounced on by a member of staff - something that generally makes me exit a shop at warp speed! In addition to books, there are children's toys and games galore, with an emphasis on the traditional - no games consoles here, thank goodness! Also for sale are cards, beautifully covered notebooks, plus gifts, such as clocks and pictures/canvases.
Above Best Books is The Book Rest, a coffee shop serving drinks, mouthwatering homemade cakes, breakfasts and lunches including daily specials, all at reasonable prices. The dining tables and chairs are generously spaced and there is also a designated 'quiet area' with sofas and coffee tables; a good book, cuppa and yummy cake combined with a comfy seat and a bit of peace and quiet is my idea of heaven!
Although advancements in the digital world make reading books on ereaders, tablets and smartphones both easy and ridiculously cheap, there is nothing quite like a physical book. The look and feel of the cover; the thrill of turning every page as the characters spring to life from your imagination; the unwrapping of an eagerly awaited book present on that special occasion; spotting the latest book by your favourite author on the shelf in your local book shop.