Independent Bookshop Interview: Ideas on Paper

Ahead of Impact’s Health and Wellbeing issue, Impact Arts are releasing a series of interviews with local and regional independent bookshops on what they bring to the community. In our second interview, Myron chatted to Alex, owner of Ideas on Paper, an independent bookseller and magazine shop in Cobden Chambers.

Myron: What do you think makes your shop unique, and what can it provide for the local community (in terms of stock/services/events, etc)?

“Ideas on paper is the only shop in the UK that has this combination of independent magazines and books.” 

Alex: I grew up in Nottingham and then worked in the fashion business in London for many years where I learned the trade before opening a shop of my own. I worked for many brands including Harrods, Mulberry, Selfridges and in Nottingham Flannels.

Ideas on Paper is the only shop in the UK that has this combination of independent magazines and books. Everything in the shop is chosen by me because I believe it is a beautiful object and well worth reading. To be stocked at Ideas on Paper a book or magazine must have coffee table appeal.

I provide a service whereby people visit the shop, they tell me what they’re thinking about and working on at the moment; I then sell them something that feeds into that process and helps them on their way with that journey.

M: Do you have much interaction with other businesses of the same vein, on a regional or a national level?

A: There is a new generation of independent bookshop. We are doing things differently from the mainstream and thereby providing a more engaging shopping experience for our customers.

“I have people visiting the shop from all round the world.”

There’s Do You Read Me!? in Berlin and PaperCut in Stockholm- not to mention Ofr in Paris. We are on each others radar as social media [has] been a wonderful technology for facilitating connections – digital can enable the analogue, bringing the two together in a symbiotic relationship.

M: Are your visitors mainly local, or from further afield?

A: I have people visiting the shop from all round the world, as visitors normally check out what’s interesting in a place they go to, and make a point of checking that out. Most of my customers are local though, as I only sell to people who visit the shop in person. It’s an actual reality experience.

M: How would you sum up your shop’s main mission or theme?

A: I bring ideas to [N]ottingham that weren’t here before, and act as a catalyst for other people to explore and develop their own ideas. Politics, philosophy, economics, languages, humanities, interior design, photography, fashion, graphics, architecture, travel – there isn’t really a subject I don’t cover.

To get a great degree these days you really need to go the extra mile and do things that other students don’t have the imagination to do. If you’re reading politics, take inspiration from urban design, and if you’re studying the arts look at chaos theory. My shop makes this process enjoyable, easy, and successful.

Myron Winter-Brownhill

Featured image courtesy of @Ideas_on_Paper via Twitter. Article image 1 courtesy of @ideas_on_paper via Instagram. Article image 2 courtesy of @ideas_on_paper via Instagram.

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