I went and spent some time in the mouthwateringly nerdy Haslemere Bookshop, and came away with too many things, obviously.
It probably comes as no surprise that I'm a big fan of indie bookshops. But, embarrassingly, it was only when I moved to Cambridge at the half-baked age of 18 that I really discovered them. Up to that point, the only bookshops that were available to me growing up were Waterstones and Ottarkar's (RIP).
Now that I'm based in Surrey, there are plenty of independent bookshops nearby for me to spend too much money in. One of them is The Haslemere Bookshop!
Tucked into the high street, The Haslemere Bookshop is over 30 years old, and has just celebrated its fifth birthday under new management. The first thing that hit me when I walked in were how many amazing limited edition and signed copies there were, including a signed copy of Phillip Pullman's The Secret Commonwealth, which I immediately bought. Talking to the booksellers, it sounds like authors and publishers are more sensitive to independent bookshops' needs, and are getting better with offering them exclusive content, giving customers an extra incentive to shop local.
I ended up spending a lot of time in the children's and YA section of the shop, which is decorated to perfection. Think Moomins and Harry Potter.
You can tell each book here has been carefully selected by the booksellers; not only did I recognise a lot of classic children's literature, but there were plenty of new titles as well. Lots of jigsaws and games too - perfect if you're gift shopping! (That's just reminded me it's going to be Christmas soon. Dear Lord.)
Upstairs, there's a decent selection of secondhand books (complete with a creepy doll left on one of the tables), piled higgledy-piggledy which made me feel very at home. There were comfortable looking chairs dotted about the place too, so if you want to relax and flick through something, you can.
Oh, and they have a resident dog! Well, sort of. A lot of shops in Haslemere have taken part in the Haslemere Hounds Project, designed to promote the town and raise awareness of local businesses. He was a very good boy and I love him.
If you're in the area, The Haslemere Bookshop is well worth a visit. They're completely independent, directly responsible for what books fill the shelves, and so unbelievably friendly. I ended up staying for almost an hour, just chatting to the booksellers and gossiping about upcoming releases! They run a book club which meets every six weeks, too - count me in!
Do you have a favourite independent bookshop? I'd love to hear! Drop me a comment below.