For readers, there are few things lovelier in life than visiting a beautiful indie bookshop, browsing their selection, and leaving with a brand-new favourite. Independents tend to go that extra mile — they not only offer great recommendations, but also provide a unique, welcoming space for book lovers to discover some hidden gems.
While it’s been a difficult year for everybody, independents have been hit especially hard. It’s important to show your favourite indie bookstores some love and help support these local businesses.
We’ve rounded up five of our favourite indies from across the West Midlands that we think every bookworm should visit. So, whether you’ve been wanting to pick up a new summer read or simply have a coffee amongst some beautiful books, check out one of these shops — they don’t disappoint!
Astley Book Farm
Selling everything from antique hardbacks to modern kid’s lit, Astley Book Farm has established itself as the largest secondhand bookshop in the Midlands. Cleverly disguised as an old farm building, this hidden gem is located just outside Bedworth at the end of a long, winding country road.
It might not be the easiest spot to find on our list — you’ll probably need a sat-nav to get there — but their collection of over 75,000 books makes it well worth the drive.
Despite its huge catalogue, the barn is adorned with cosy chairs and log burners to retain a homely feel. And with a special Children’s Hayloft and Ten Bob Barn to rummage through, visitors of all ages are sure to discover some literary treasures here.
If you’re planning to make a day of it, stop by the coffee shop, sink into a leather sofa, and enjoy their variety of local tea and cakes. There’s also a beautiful outdoor garden to relax in during the sunnier months.
The Bookshop on the Green
While the beautiful village of Bournville is best known for its chocolate, it’s also home to The Bookshop on the Green — one of Birmingham’s best independent bookstores. Located opposite the iconic Cadbury factories, the shop sells a hand-picked assortment of adult fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books.
If you’re hoping to support other local creators, check out the shop’s selection of titles from Brummie authors, presses, poets, and illustrators. The Bookshop on the Green team also regularly hosts live community events, such as the children’s Bournville BookFest.
Before leaving, don’t forget to write down a book recommendation and pin it to their favourite reads display to share some literary suggestions. And if you can’t find the book you need, just ask a friendly member of staff — they’ll make sure it’s stocked on the shelves and ready to collect within three working days for you!
The Big Comfy Bookshop
Based in Coventry, The Big Comfy Bookshop is exactly what it sounds like — a snug secondhand bookstore with cosy sofas, tasty treats, and an all-round homely atmosphere. Browse your favourite preloved titles, then sink back into one of their red armchairs to refuel with a pot of tea and some homemade cake.
More of a night owl? Enjoy a literary themed alternative to clubbing by visiting The Big Comfy Bookshop in the evening, when the cafe transforms into a licensed bar. Hosting live music, poetry, and writing groups, there’s an event for every bookworm in this shop’s eclectic event calendar!
And if you’re looking for a great way to discover some new gems, join their Mystery Book Club subscription service and receive a monthly handpicked recommendation straight to your door!
Nestled in the heart of this historic town, Kenilworth Books is a local treasure trove of great reads, literary gifts, and traditional wooden toys. This beautiful little bookshop was established over 50 years ago in a small corner of Kenilworth High Street, and still retains its magical charm.
It includes a large YA and children’s section, although it has plenty of adult fiction and nonfiction reads, too. Working closely with local schools, libraries, and creatives, the store’s team also helps supply books for community shelves, so you can guarantee your money is going to a good cause! We recommend supporting a Brummie artist by picking up a hand-designed card from Kenilworth Books’ wonderful selection of illustrated artwork.
Warwick Books’ warm wooden shelves and beautiful blue front are enough to make any bookworm instantly fall in love. Spanning two floors, they offer everything from poetry, fiction, history, travel, and sport, to an adorable children’s section with bunting and coloured chairs.
Whilst visiting, don’t forget to help yourself to a complimentary tea or coffee, or take a well-deserved rest on their cosy sofa after scouring the shelves. Friendly and welcoming, the shop’s staff are always ready to help and recommend a title. Look out for the handwritten reviews attached to certain favourites by adult and child reviewers alike!
With so many wonderful indies on offer in the West Midlands alone, there’s no excuse to not pop into one of our recommended shops, and make sure to celebrate them not just during Independent Bookshop Week, but all year round.
And if you’re thinking about visiting Bournville’s The Bookshop on the Green, check out our video here and let us know your favourite independent bookshop in the comments!