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Fully Booked in Thames Ditton

Denny’s Books has become a firm fixture in Thames Ditton’s fantastic array of independent shops, much loved by its local customers and visitors from further afield. We meet up with owner and proprietor, Megan Warrington, to discuss how her enduring love of books and reading has brought her to where she is today and what the next chapter may hold…


Words | Alex Riley



It’s a sunny morning in early October when I visit Megan at Denny’s Books, so named after her maternal grandparents, Lesley and Michael. The Annexe is set back slightly from the main high street but is easy to find. Once inside you are instantly captivated by the myriad reading material on offer.


The shop is modest in size, but its bright décor and skylights give an airy and relaxed feel, the perfect atmosphere in which to have a good look round.


Megan graduated with a degree in publishing in 2019. “I originally thought I would like to work for one of the big publishing houses in London”, Megan says, “but, due in part to the fierce competition in finding a position in the industry, I started to rethink things and realised that I didn’t really want to be chained to working in an office in London. I did however want to utilize my degree – my overriding

desire was to work with books – reading is my lifelong passion.”


“And then it kind of hit me – a bookshop – we didn’t have one in the area. Independent bookshops have been on the decline over the last few years, a victim (as with so many other high street outlets) to the rise of the online market. This may offer convenience, but it is by definition impersonal. The last few years have seen a resurgence in the opening of independent bookshops, and I believe this is because people want to visit – they love it because you have such a different and personal experience.”


“I did some market research to figure out if an independent bookshop would be well received in the area: the result was a resounding ‘Yes!’”


“It took a while to find our premises; I have to admit that I was starting to give up hope of finding somewhere suitable when we chanced upon our current location. From there it all came together quite quickly, and we now have some amazingly loyal customers – they enjoy being able to pop in just for a chat about books, and I am often told how much value this adds to their book buying experience.”

“I love what I do. I genuinely believe that reading is one of the most important things that a person can do. It benefits your mental health and for the younger reader it enhances their education and expands their vocabulary; in a polarised world it can provide much needed empathy.”



I ask Megan how, with a business to run, she finds time for reading herself. “I do,” Megan shares, “it can get quite overwhelming, as I am lucky enough to be sent so many proof copies of new publications to read, but it is an absolute dream to see books before they are published – I’m so lucky, I love it! I also try and keep on top of what everyone else is reading, so that I can better advise my customers.”


Megan goes on to say that she is fascinated by the mechanics of publishing, having had the opportunity on a couple of occasions to visit printers and see how the books we read are produced, from typeset to printing. At the other end of the scale, she has done a course in bookbinding and

has had a chance to appreciate the artistry that goes into hand produced volumes, a skill Megan is looking to develop further.


We discuss plans for the future. “Within about four to five months of opening,” Megan says, “I realized that I could really do with a bigger space, not just for stock but for what else I would like to do with the business. This includes hosting events, be it book clubs for younger and older readers or for evenings with authors. For the moment however I am very happy where we are and am able to concentrate on building the business and spreading the word that we are here.”


With such a huge and diverse volume of publishing available, I ask Megan how she decides what to stock. “It’s really difficult – people ask me all the time how I buy books for the shop, because it’s not the same range as you would see in the larger chain stores. Obviously I have some bestsellers, but my buying is very much based on offering people something they might not typically choose themselves; it has been great to receive compliments on the range which we hold.”


From a look around it is clear there is something in Denny’s books to cater for all ages and tastes, and I leave with a handful of Megan’s recommendations, which are proving to be thoroughly enjoyable reading. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet up with Megan and to be enthused by her passion for the printed word.


 

Denny’s Books, The Annexe, 2 Station Road, Thames Ditton KT7 0NR

020 3904 6826

Facebook: Denny’s Books

Instagram @dennysbookstore



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