I'm hoping that in years to come this post will be relevant to more aspects of our bookshop crawls than is currently the case in 2022 after two years of pandemic madness. Although this year's group gatherings are very minimal, in future events I really hope this will change, so here's what to expect from your guided group!
Firstly it's really important to say that all of our groups are led by people who love bookshops and books, but most of us are not actual tour guides and thus will probably not have in depth knowledge of the history of the area that we're in. Your group guide should be friendly (some of us are chattier than others) and make everyone feel welcome, and they will lead you around to different bookshops, probably telling you a little about each bookshop and letting you know about any discounts and perks on offer. They'll also often share book recommendations with you and should be able to tell you about other things going on as part of the bookshop crawl. Some guides like to share information about history and other aspects of the place you're bookshop crawling in, some will share personal stories attached to bookshops, basically it very much depends on the individual guide you have. Our events are run by volunteers, and we're bookshop enthusiasts, not city tour guides!
Due to the nature of bookshop crawling, our guided groups often involve a lot of walking! When you are sent information about where to meet up for your group you should also be given an indication of whether there will be public transport journeys involved and a vague idea of how much walking might be involved. You are always entirely free to leave the group at any point, and if you'd like to catch up later on (particularly with longer events like Bunk off and Book Shop) your leader will provide you with a way to contact them and find out where the group is later on. If you have any access needs please do let us know ahead of the event or on the day and we will do our best to help you.
The bookshop crawl was founded by a socially anxious person so I always try to be aware, and make our volunteers aware, that it's not always easy for people to come along to groups, especially on their own. If you are anxious about coming to an event, please feel free to get in touch via email or DM and let me know beforehand, and I'll do my best to put you at ease! You can also always join in with our pre-event Twitter chat (2022's happens on Thursday 17th Feb at 7.30pm) and get to know some of your fellow bookshop crawlers that way so it doesn't feel so much like meeting up with strangers! I will say that in 7 years of bookshop crawl, everybody I've met on a group has been absolutely lovely, so the odds of that remaining the case are extremely good - book people are the best people after all.
There is no book buying requirement! If you're feeling put off of coming to a group because you don't want to buy loads of books, or because you do want to buy loads of books and are worried people will judge you, please don't be! Our groups are just for booklovers to get together and explore bookshops - nobody will be judging how much you're buying (or honestly even noticing unless you want to share with us!) and although we're always happy to chat about book hauls, if your haul is zero, thirty or anywhere in between, as long as you're enjoying the bookshops that's all we want!
We have one space left for 2022's Bunk off and Book shop in Richmond & Kew on Friday 19th Feb from 1pm-5pm, and we'd love you to Join us!