Chapter One Books
Oh wow, this place is my new sanctuary! As soon as I discovered it, I visited three times in two days. Part coffee shop, part book shop, part typewriter hire… Chapter One Books is my idea of how to do a book shop right. First off, there’s the obscenely comfy armchairs covered in blankets and cushions, just begging to be snoozed in. Then there’s the water feature, gently trickling away as you flick through potential purchases. A pot of loose leaf tea will see you nicely through your browse, whilst the selection of cakes and snacks (including plenty vegan and veggie options) will hit the spot.
In terms of books, though the selection looks a little sparse, it’s a thoughtful collection. New releases and prize nominees take pride of place on the main shelves, whist further back there’s a shelf of second hand books and a fantastic 2 for £10 offer on poetry books. The displays are always well curated with a new theme for every visit. At the back of the shop a row of typewriters is available (for free!) for budding novelists to work on the latest masterpiece. Keep wandering, and you’ll come across the spooky thriller section complete with flickering candles and all the horror a Steven King fan could want for.
Fantastic friendly service glues the whole concept together, with a welcoming vibe that’s a little different to other less-accessible concept stores in the Northern Quarter. Without much money when I visited, I purchased reading copies (just a little cheaper because they’ve been flicked through by customers) of Murakami’s Pinball and The Silent History. The lovely girl behind the till even asked me to pop back in and let her know how I got on, and I certainly will be doing!
Okay, so this is a chain bookshop, and I would like to be steering away from chains on this blog. BUT. Not only is Waterstones Deansgate the biggest bookshop in the North of England, it also manages to keep hold of it’s unique, independent vibe. The store is a haven in the city centre, close to St Anne’s Square and the bustle of Deansgate itself. It’s groundfloor area is packed to the rafters with bestsellers, bookclub recommendations and the latest charts – as well as writing from Manchester and its surrounding areas.
Up the winding staircase, visitors will discover an extensive philosophy section, as well as biography, poetry, classics and modern fiction. There’s always an exciting table piled high with recommended reading from staff, who are always on hand to help.
At the top of the shop there’s a fantastic café with sprawling sofas and great snacks and coffees. A huge arts and craft section will inspire, as well as a large travel, food and arts area. We find it quite easy to while away a few hours in this Waterstones, especially when our browsing is sandwiched between a brew in the café. It’s also a great spot for little gifts, cards and wrapping. To be noted about Waterstones Deansgate is that they open at 10.30 on a Sunday morning, long before all the other surrounding shops. Perfect for beating the crowds!