Happy birthday!!! It's not everyday you get to celebrate one of your favourite shop's 21st birthday. A big achievement especially since some shops don't even make it to their 10th anniversary and independent bookshops are incredibly important.
2020 has a lot to answer for. Some good, some bad. The good? Of course the fact that Goldsboro Books is celebrating its 21st Anniversary this year. The bad, the fact that due to Covid-19 we can't really celebrate this wonderful occasion. Boo hoo!
Independent bookshops are a lifeline for many reasons. The staff are always knowledgeable, they love books and they are also great at hand selling books. Goldsboro Books do this so wonderfully and always with great aplomb!
Goldsboro Books current shop has of course a good lineage. Back in 1961 when the current shop was an antique shop, it was the site of a murder, followed by the first successful prosecution featuring the new Identikit system.
You would not be surprised if I were to say that my relationship with Goldsboro Books goes back quite a long way. I first hear of Goldsboro books even before they had their first shop in Cecil Court. At the time Thalia Proctor who is now the Editorial Manager for Sphere at Little Brown word for them and she used to travel to where David and Daniel were living and work out of their house. Thalia of course used to tell me about all the wonderful books that they sold.
With Goldsboro books initially being established in 1999 it was not until February 2002 that they first moved to 1 Cecil Court. For me it was brilliant as every time I was in the area I would pop into the shop. I could say that my excuse was to see Thalia which was partly true but it was also due to the fact that I just thought that it was a fantastic shop and I could drool over some of the first editions that I would have loved to own but could (and still cannot) afford. They are for example by authors such as Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, Erle Stanley Gardner, Patricia Highsmith, Raymond Chandler etc (you can see where I am going here) and for me it was as if you had walked into an Aladdin's cave. It was always easy for me to describe to friends exactly where the shop was as I always used the ballet shop on the corner as a reference point.
When they moved into the first shop not only did I finally get to meet David but also Daniel. To be fair I am not sure what David made of me or me of him when we first formally met. David's sense of humour is of course well known and sometimes if you hear the two of us together you would think that we disliked each other but nothing could be further than the truth. David is of course from Yorkshire but luckily for me I was already used to “Yorkshire mannerisms” due to the fact that one of the Judges that I worked for is from Yorkshire as well.
Four years later in August 2006 Goldsboro Books moved a couple of doors down to number 7 Cecil Court. They remained there until 2011 when they moved further down to the opposite end of the court to numbers 23 to 25 Cecil Court. Of course a much bigger shop but that is not surprising. Why you may ask? Goldsboro Books reputation has increased over the years and it has a vast number of 1st edition books in stock so of course it needed bigger space. The shop was further enlarged in June 2015 when they took over and knocked through number 27 Cecil Court. It is of course a quite distinctive shop. It always has fabulous window displays and they always draw crowds. Cecil Court of course is also said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books by J K Rowling. Unsurprisingly when the tours are taking place they always seem to stop outside Goldsboro Books. I fancy that they think that it is Flourish and Blotts Bookseller.
One of my favourite things about the shop is that despite the fact that I read mainly crime fiction, Goldsboro cover all all sorts of books and that includes Children's and Young Adults along side genre fiction and some literary fiction. I am yet to go into the shop and not feel an immense sense of joy. Furthermore, whenever independent bookshops are being mentioned and discussed then Goldsboro Books always gets mentioned.
© Ayo Onatade
There are so many good things about Goldsboro, they hold wonderful book launches. It is in fact the place to hold your book launch. They are the only bookshop that I know hold events for the different genres. We have had Crime in the Court which I believe was the very first one of these events. The first ever Crime in the Court took place on 21 June 201l whilst the first ever History in the Court taking place in September 2011 as well. They have also held Romance in the Court and of course Science Fiction and Fantasy. For authors it is the place to go to sign stock and they have occasionally been known to be the only shop that some international authors sign stock.
Goldsboro Books have been heavily involved in sponsoring a number of awards as well. They have been sponsors of the CWA Gold Dagger Award and the Romantic Novelists Association Historical Romantic Novel Award to name a few. There is also the Glass Bell Award which is their own award. Launched in 2017 it does not cover any specfic genre. and is judged solely by the staff at Goldsboro Books. The nominated books have always been incredibly ecletic. This year for example they had an all female shortlist.
They also host author events as well. They have held events with authors such as Sophie Hannah and Stuart Turton, Gregg Hurwitz, Pierce Brown and Michael Connelly.
For me Goldsboro Books will always be the shop that I will recomemnd when asked. They also run a fantastic book of the month club which has recently been renamed Prem1er. If yo don't belong then you should seriously consider doing so. It is on of the best way's of getting hold of some brlliant books most of which go on to be incredibly collectable.
As part of Goldsboro Books 21st anniversary celebrations there is a wonderful anthology to look forward to. The anthology includes original stories from a wide range of well known authors such as Ian Rankin, Oyinka Braithwaite, Paul Burston, John Connolly, Ragnar Jónasson and Adele Parks to name a few. I for one am looking forward to reading this collection.
So whilst we have not had a chance to celebrate this year, I do hope that when life gets back to some semblance of normality all the friends of Goldsboro Books will have the opportunity to help you celebrate properly. Thank you for 21 years of friendship, books and support to authors and customers. May Goldsboro Books be around for many more years as you continue to bring us intriguing and wonderful books.
Until then happy birthday to Goldsboro Books, David, Daniel, Pavla, Emily and all the other members of staff.