20.09.11 | Benedicte Page and Philip Jones - The BooksellerThe Travel Bookshop premises in Notting Hill will reopen as a bookshop this week after The Book Warehouse acquired the lease to one-half of the building from the Travel Bookshop's founder Sarah Anderson.
The Book Warehouse m.d. James Malin said the shop would open on Thursday (22nd September) or Friday (23rd September) and would "probably" be trading as The Notting Hill Bookshop, but would keep a focus on travel as well as stocking other subjects. It will be based in 13 Blenheim Crescent, but will not have access to the next door unit 15b Blenheim Crescent, which was also used by The Travel Bookshop.
"This is such an iconic bookstore, and so well-loved even prior to the film [The Travel Bookshop features in the film 'Notting Hill'], we did not want to see it close and yet another coffee shop open," Malin said. "We want to continue it pretty much as it was but to extend the range. It will still have the same look and style."
Simon Gaul, who bought The Travel Bookshop from Anderson in 1991 and who still controls the lease on 15B Blenheim Crescent, said the new shop was unrelated to the former bookshop and warned the new occupier against "any attempt" at "passing off".
Gaul said he had rebuffed attempts to sell the brand names associated with The Travel Bookshop to The Book Warehouse. "Book warehouses are just that; a place where remaindered books, cards, calendars, magazines etc are found. Worthy though such enterprises are, 'The Book Warehouse Notting Hill' has no association whatsoever—despite its occupying a part of the old location of The Travel Bookshop—with that 30+ year-old enterprise."
The shop brings the total number run by The Book Warehouse in the capital to 10. One has been open at 72-74 Notting Hill Gate for 22 years, and other locations include Waterloo, Victoria, Hammersmith, Camden and Islington. Malin also said that he hoped to re-employ some of the previous staff. "We will continue the tradition of customers who come in to order specific travel books, and the expertise of the staff would be an obvious asset," he said. James Malin said that both he and his brother Howard, who co-owns The Book Warehouse, live within 300 yards of the bookshop premises. "We are very much local residents," he said.
The Travel Bookshop, established in 1979, closed at the beginning of this month. A celebrity-led campaign to save it proved futile, with Gaul writing in The Bookseller that independent bookshops were threatened by a "perfect storm" caused by the collapse of the Net Book Agreement, the growth in out-of-town superstores, and the rise of the internet.