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Malvern Book Co-operative 10 Years

Malvern Book Co-operative is celebrating ten years since opening its shop on St Ann’s Road in Malvern. In that time they have sold countless books and developed strong links with the local community. Susan Raine, Sarah Creber and Philippa Thomas are three active members of the Co-op and tell us more.

Tell us a bit about your work today
We should start by saying our success is down to a much bigger team. We have more than 150 members, some who are active and some less so, but all very supportive. A core team carries out a lot of the work, overseeing the running of the shop, the finances, and many other tasks. 

We host occasional events and talks; these have outgrown our shop and are held in local venues. Perhaps our biggest event to date was hosting the former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at Malvern Cube.

Our charity work takes place through the Outreach Project which is run by Tracy Kelly-Freer. This involves all kinds of work, everything from reading sessions for toddlers to supplying books to the local Foodbank and Dementia Café.

Who chooses the books?
We all do! Everybody is welcome to have their say and this contributes to a diverse selection of stock. Customers and even other booksellers often compliment us on our range of books. 

BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week always sells well and we see interest in books that have been turned into television series. When Ralph Fiennes appeared in Four Quartets at Malvern Theatres last year, we saw a boost in sales of T.S. Eliot!
Remind us how the Book Co-op began

Ten years ago, Beacon Books along the Worcester Road was closing and there was a desire to keep a bookshop in the town centre. A small group formed to make this happen. We knew nothing about running a bookshop at the time! There were no premises and no stock, but thanks to the support of Co-operatives UK and many local people, we got things off the ground relatively quickly. Dan Herbert helped with the financial arrangements, and although there are too many others to name individually, we should mention the efforts of Mary Herbert, Helen Barker and Ann Knight who brought knowledge and experience from Beacon Books.

What else does the Book Co-op do?
We work with schools in Malvern and at local festivals. We even dressed our own well at this year’s Festival of Well Dressing! It is good to be so involved in the local community and being a co-op gives us the freedom to participate even if there is no profit to be made. 

Malvern Book Co-operative on St Ann’s Road in Great Malvern is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm. Enquiries and orders can be made by calling (01684) 564788 or emailing 

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