Our social media cover star: Emma at Collected Books

Opened last year, Collected is an independent bookshop at Durham’s Riverwalk, specialising in work by women – and it sells great coffee too!

Amid all the change on Britain’s high streets, it’s wonderful to see how independent bookshops are one of the big success stories of recent times.

Yes, you might sometimes save a pound or two buying from an online retail giant, but you can’t experience that moment where a colourful cover or interesting title unexpectedly catches your eye as you browse; you can’t enjoy meeting an author as they talk about their life and inspiration; and you certainly can’t get the warm glow that you feel when you know you’re supporting a local Durham-based business.

Since City of Durham Parish Council launched the Indie Durham City project in 2020, it’s been our pleasure to work with not one but two brilliant new indie bookshops in the city: the delightful BookWyrm inside Durham Market Hall, which we featured as a previous cover star, and the wonderful Collected in the city’s Riverwalk.

We first met Emma, who runs Collected, back in November 2021, when her idea for a bookshop (with coffee) specialising in work by women was still in its early days, and we were able to share some hints and tips about the opportunities for independents trading in Durham.

So, we were thrilled when Emma was able to launch her new bookshop in mobile form in spring last year – building a following by offering a range of 1,000 books in a van at the Saturday market in Durham Market Place – and then, in September 2022, beyond excited when she launched in her own permanent premises at 44 The Riverwalk.

It has been wonderful to see Collected go from strength to strength over the last year, with a stock of around 10,000 titles, a regular book club and programme of instore events, and some of the best coffee and cakes you’ll find in the city.

Collected’s extended opening hours throughout the week make it easy to call in before or after work, and on Thursdays and Fridays the shop is even open until 8pm – sometimes with an instore DJ on Fridays for “Books & Beats” (the next one is on Friday 8 December from 6pm to 10pm)!

If you’re interested in knowing more about Collected’s story so far, website Opt Indie Books recently ran a brilliant interview that gives a really interesting insight into Emma’s bookselling journey.

As ever, the best way to support Collected is to head there in person for a browse (and a cake). You can also visit the website, and follow the latest updates on X/Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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