Monday, 1 April 2013

The floating bookshop

Word on the Water is a 1920s Dutch barge whose interior is fitted out as a bookshop, inclusive of children’s area. There’s a woodburning stove and two resident cats. It’s one of those things you want there to be, and here it is.

It plies the Regent’s Canal in London; moored this week by Victoria Park in Hackney, it will probably move next to Broadway Market and then to Angel, Camden, Paddington . . . It’s been a long winter, and little book-buying takes place until the temperature rises above 8 degrees – any colder than that, and people walk by to keep warm, don’t pause to browse. Mulled wine has featured over the past months, but as the weather improves the repertoire expands: singers, musicians, sword-swallowers, etc. Poets, even. For three weeks in the summer the barge will be part of London’s floating market (the top pic shows the boat at last year’s market).

To date the stock has been mostly second-hand, but of a kind more varied and more interesting than that of your average charity shop. Paddy is interested in stocking more new books, and doing more book launches (for once that word seems appropriate), and from this Easter weekend the barge is stocking a selection of new CBe titles. You can check the location of Word on the Water on its Facebook page or Twitter (@wordonthewater).

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