Why are bookshops such universally beautiful buildings? Maybe it’s because they really do wear their hearts on their sleeves. Every bookshop featured here is different. They are places that go out of their way to stamp their personality on their premises, be warm and welcoming, outside and in.

Bookshops are one of the few places where you can still strike up a conversation with a stranger and they won’t run away.

For five years Erica has travelled the country visiting the best of what bookselling has to offer and written about what’s special about them. Thomas has been drawing bookshops after he was commissioned to illustrate a fictional one and has since embarked on a project to illustrate his way around the country. For both, books are their addiction. If they see a bookshop they have to go inside, which means they inevitably leave with at least one book. They hope you enjoy exploring the bookshops with them and feel inspired to visit a few yourself.

About the authors

Thomas is an Oxfordshire-based landscape artist, illustrator, and novelist. His two main inspirations are the work of Edward Ardizzoni and Rex Whistler, and his style is somewhere between the two. As a published author, books are his passion, and stories are always running through him. He has published three novels to date, the standalone The End Of All Worlds which sees Norse mythology meet modern day climate day science; and Mr Tumnal and The Imaginary Wife which are the first two books in his Imaginary Friends trilogy.

Erica is an avid reader with a love of bookshops.Whether independent or chain, secondhand or from the pages of a book, she loves any bookshop where sales are made face-to- face, and travels the country meeting and writing about them. By day she works in public relations and her writing, for work and pleasure, has appeared in a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites.