Is The Main Street Trading Company Scotland’s best bookshop?
August 24, 2013 | 3:02 pm
Deep in the heart of Walter Scott country, between his own-built architectural fantasy at Abbotsford House, his favorite vantage point at Scott’s View, and his last resting place at Dryburgh Abbey, I chanced across The Main Street Trading Company—voted Independent Bookseller of the Year 2012 in The Bookseller’s 2012 Industry Awards; it was also winner of the Best Bookshop category in The Daily Telegraph‘s Best Small Shops Awards 2012.
With accolades like that, and even against some very stiff competition, The Main Street Trading Company deserves its tag as Scotland’s best bookshop.
Nestling in the lee of Eildon Hill, where King Arthur and his knights allegedly sleep, The Main Street Trading Company combines a very well-stocked bookstore, run by husband-and-wife team Rosamund and Bill de la Hey, with a strong emphasis on children’s books, with an equally well-stocked, and very busy, café. There’s also a delicatessen and gift shop in a separate building behind the main bookstore, and the deli even has its own chef.
The bookshop has its own newsletter, The Main Street Trading Press, and holds regular book events and readings, with UK publishing luminaries like Christopher MacLehose featuring alongside writers and other figures. (To download a PDF version of the newsletter’s spring 2013 issue, click here.)
The Main Street Trading Company is actively involved in the promotion of Scottish culture, publishing and bookselling, including the judging of the Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Award. Not a Kindle to be seen, but The Main Street Trading Company will also order books on request via email, which they claim works quicker than Amazon.
One charming innovation of The Main Street Trading Company is the Book Burrows—alcoves for children equipped with audio players for listening to audio books. Rosamund explained that one of her children is dyslexic and a huge fan of audio books, so this seemed a natural development.
I’ll be running an interview with Rosamund de la Hey soon. A short film about the bookshop, produced by The Guardian and starring Rosamund, is embedded below.