SB is situated very close to Dudley's High Street, market, colleges, car parks, and is a brisk walk away from the Black Country Museum. It occupies two floors, the ground and the second, of an 1800s merchant's town house, and bears the original plaque, 'Lester Place'. The building is owned by Matthew Southall, Potato Wholesaler, who use the bulk of the premises, where sacks of produce are to be seen, piled high. The location, Tower Street, though a busy thoroughfare, offers views up to the castle, and runs down from Stone Street with its pubs, restaurants and craft shops.
The downstairs area is not large. It is accessed via a wide hallway, used currently to display pastel artwork by local painter Nigel Chandri. The shop itself has sections on British and Irish, Commonwealth and American, Fantasy and Children's ? fiction; literature in translation, religious thought, educating at home, psychology, philosophy, myth, language, fine art and photography. Visitors are always free to browse, with no obligation to buy.
Two floors up, the collection fills four rooms. This accumulation, all but a fraction of which has still to be catalogued, is ordered only through accession ? although books on certain subjects have been grouped ahead of listing, so that they form a block on the shelves. An example of this would be the 400-strong Second World War set. Collectors, with notice, are welcome to peruse the 9,000 items of the top floor, providing they can give some evidence that they are bona fide. Regular customers too, if they have the breath for the steep two flights, and clothing enough for the wintry conditions up there that prevail for most of the year!
Lester Place, for all that it is rented by Saturday Books, has been repaired and restored by SB friends. Rooms out of use for years have been brought back into use, and now provide accommodation for two artists, one designer and one environmental group. The same idea of preservation informs the trade in books. Heavier than androids, they are said to offer a different reading-experience to that of the backlit screen; shops such as SB ensure continuance, offering clean, good copies at less than a third of their original retail price. Further, SB offers a location where tastes can be broadened by sampling and extended by purchase, at no great financial risk. Literary traditions worldwide have brought insights, and the experience of beauty. This writing needs to be on view, as well as on line.
Preservation of this town of Dudley, its memory and its history, is also part of the work of |SB. The shop carries writing of many local historians, displayed near the entrance. Because they are bought-up quickly, SB is able to pay sellers reasonably ?depending of course on condition, and on how far the subject is from Dudley Town Centre!
In the shop, the most important section is children's. Libraries, with their systems of return and restricted opening, as well as their likely distance, can never fully feed a child's hunger for fiction, for those alternative worlds that can be absolutely real. Crucially, a library book cannot be shared in the way of a personal possession. Once loved, a book should remain on the shelf until superseded. Where stories are great, they remain in the mind of the reader, the characters even gaining life over time. The novel's presence in the bedroom can only extend that relationship.
Please visit us. Our weekday opening hours are Tuesday-Friday 10.30-13.30. These are subject to change, so phone first. Regarding Saturdays, we never default on our 9.00 - 15.00 opening hours. Hence the name, Saturday Books.
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All UK orders should reach customers within two days.
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