Is Wapping Bookshop London’s smallest? The greenhouse holds fewer than 300 books and magazines, ranging from the bookseller’s own literary review to limited edition collectable photography books. Shoppers can stand next to the few shelves or sit down on the garden bench stationed opposite.
Manager, buyer and salesman Ben Eastham turns the wood-burning stove on in the winter, and moves outside onto the lawn in the summer. The bookshop is part of the Wapping Project, a gallery and restaurant housed in a former power station.
The bookshop stock is a world away from the long tail that Amazon offers. Because space is a premium, you’re more likely to find five copies of the most talked-about hardbacks than random secondhand offerings or stacks of paperback Booker nominees. For example, Ben says,
“One of our bestsellers was the Ruins of Detroit by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre that was a £75 very beautiful edition from Steidl, which was very beautiful and made on a short run, which people buy to collect. That sold very well.”
He also hosts readings and talks – for audiences of just eight to 12 – and when the weather’s better there are film screenings projected onto the brick wall beside the greenhouse. We defy you to find anywhere more bijou.
The Wapping Project, Wapping Wall, E1W 3ST. Images author’s own.
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