The Portobello Bookshop Journey

The Portobello Bookshop opened its doors in July 2019 and we’ve had quite a rollercoaster first couple of years, with an unforeseen global pandemic making things a little different than we’d originally anticipated. Despite this, we’ve really enjoyed settling into our fabulous local high street, getting to know all our local customers and fellow businesses, and been so thrilled with the reception we’ve had both locally and from those further afield.

We opened the shop with the intention of creating a really welcoming space to browse and buy books in, and sought to find a balance between range and ease of browsing. We have attempted to let our booksellers curate a unique selection of books where you can find all the latest, most exciting titles, but hopefully also stumble across old favourites or even discover something you might not have come across otherwise.

Our aim was always to have a diverse and interesting range of stock and to mirror this approach in our events program. We began thinking about our events from the very first days of our shop, quickly developing a following for our programme, and were thrilled with the lively and well-attended evenings that ensued.

Sadly, those days came to a swift end early in 2020, and we had to move our events program online. But that’s been going great, and we’ve focused on events that we feel passionate about, often featuring local authors who, for a while before the current lockdown, were able to broadcast their talks from the shop to people’s homes. We’ve been really pleased with the attendance and look forward to developing our events program with these new ways of getting authors and their books to people.

Since we opened, we’ve lost count of the lovely things that have happened at the shop, whether it’s seeing our regular customers each week (or hearing from them via email), the endless procession of great dogs that visit us, a marriage proposal on the shop floor (they said yes), or just working in a space where the whole team has a passion for books and a desire to share that with others.

Whilst a pandemic and successive lockdowns isn’t the ideal start for any business, the current situation has motivated us to put together a good website for people to continue to enjoy browsing and buying books, and it has all made us appreciate even more just how lovely bricks and mortar stores are, and we’ll value working at the shop all the more once we’re able to open again in future – hopefully in slightly different circumstances from those in 2020.

We’re thrilled to be working with the SYP on their conference, and really look forward to the exciting lineup of events they’ve put on. Follow us on Twitter at @portybooks, and you can visit our website at

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