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LoveReading Bookshop Feature: Kemps Books (Malton)

We are thrilled to be able to introduce you to Kemps Books, which is a brand new bookshop in Malton, Yorkshire. Look at the enticing shopfront and then take a peek further inside to a book surrounded doorway, here is the entrance to the bookshop. Kemps Books are part of their community, they even offer individual shopping sessions outside of normal shop hours. This attention to detail, and the wonderful selection of books means that there really is something for everyone. Next time I head Yorkshire way, I will be calling in at this bookshop, it looks utterly gorgeous, and really is calling to me! We wish you every success with your new adventure Kemps Books, cheers!

When was your bookshop born and how did that come about?

Kemps Books was born at the beginning of October 2020 – mid-pandemic, when we moved from our gift shop next door. Whilst we have always stocked some books, we wanted to open a proper bookshop – something that was missing in Malton, which is a busy North Yorkshire market town full of independent businesses – a mix of new, traditional and long-established. We still stock the popular non-fiction titles we had before, and our loyal customers have always loved our coffee table books and the many countryside and nature titles we’ve always had, but we felt Malton deserved a bookshop with a wide range of titles, genres and plenty of good fiction too.

Tell us about the journey and the changes you have seen.

Although we were very happy in our previous premises for about 3 years, if our dream of opening a bookshop was to be realised, we needed far more space. Covid-19 and social distancing pushed us into progressing our dream to give us a safer, more comfortable and practical space to deliver Kemps Christmas which has always been a significant percentage of our annual turnover. 

Our shop is now a light and airy emporium for those seeking beautiful books and unusual gifts. Our new home needed a complete refit and redecoration to make space for our books, and local craftsmen worked against the clock to build a beautiful space in an old building full of character and history. Even in winter, the bookshop is flooded with natural light coming in through the surrounding tall sash windows and we’re making plans for our back garden where we’ll host a calendar of planned events in the future. 

Describe your shop in three words.

Beautiful, welcoming and friendly.

What is important in a great bookshop? Tell us what sets you apart and makes you special.

A great bookshop has books to appeal to everyone! It’s important when you serve a local and loyal community that you can supply the latest, bestselling titles but also provide something to appeal to those looking for something out of the ordinary. Our selection of beautiful gift books provides an easy solution to buying for others, and many customers have commented that we’ve been the first and only place they’ve shopped for Christmas gifts. We have an extensive stock of new as well as classic fiction titles curated with our customers in mind. We serve and are part of a distinctive local community in a prosperous market town famous for being Yorkshire’s food capital. That means we have many visitors from outside the town as well as many locals to consider when choosing which titles will appeal. 

What sets us apart is that we provide a complete, wrap-around service to our customers: we choose titles they will love and provide a knowledgeable and friendly service whether they would like advice, suggestions or recommendations.  We pride ourselves on the speed and efficiency of our ordering service for both mainstream and specialist titles, as well as stocking a fantastic range of gifts for readers. Some of our customers enjoy the individual shopping sessions we provide when customers can browse outside normal shop hours when they can be accompanied by a friend or one of our helpful staff.

Tell us about the books you love to recommend.

First of all, it’s lovely to be asked! Many customers tell us that the whole experience of buying from an independent bookshop is really important to them. 

We love to recommend books for children and stock a wide selection of titles for babies, both primary and secondary aged youngsters, as well as many young adult fiction titles. Parents and grandparents often ask us for advice and enjoy telling us about the reading tastes and habits of their families.  Getting that information means that we know how to guide choices or make suggestions of what will suit readers who have different tastes and reading experiences. Our customers often choose titles they enjoyed as youngsters and introduce their children and grandchildren to books that become family classics and heirlooms.

As so many foodies visit Malton, we stock beautiful books on food and drink.  We carry some mainstream titles written by celebrity cooks, but also titles for the specialist or expert cook.

Beyond that, we all love a great story and love to recommend our favourites! 

What is your favourite part of your bookshop?

It’s hard to pick just one! Our fantastic book arch announces the entrance to the bookshop. Everyone who comes in admires it and asks how we make the books stay put! We all love ‘Kemp’s Corner’ which is full of decorative cloth-bound classics and children’s favourites in beautifully bound new edition covers. Our feature windows display famous quotations about books and people’s love of reading; the words remind us of why books are so important. They help us understand the world and share our stories.

Tell us a secret about books.

Every book provides a new world to escape to and explore!

Apart from your own shop, which other bookshop(s) do you love to spend time in?

We love Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland – for the rare editions, railway train and fantastic tea and cake!

What else do our members need to know about you?

We’d love them to visit the shop and discover our books in person, but we also have a growing collection online.  Whilst re-opening during the pandemic year, it has been a joy to see so many of our loyal customers supporting us and coming in regularly to see what’s new and have a chat about books we all love.

Keep up to Date with Kemps Books


Twitter: @kempsshop

Facebook: @kempsgeneralstore

Instagram: @kempsmalton

If you enjoyed this, click here to read more of our Bookshop of the Month features.

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