Due to the overwhelming response since announcing our difficulties, we have had an influx of people offering their support to volunteer and help with property maintenance issues. THANK YOU! We have therefore decided to lower our target amount to a minimum of £12,000. This will financially stabilise the store for the next few months, and we are hopeful that since business has picked up significantly over the past two weeks, we can sustain ourselves and make the progress necessary to sustain The Book Den in the future. Of course, any extra funds will be so gratefully received, but we are hugely relieved to be able to lower our target amount. As we have lowered our target amount, everyone who has pledged can ask for a refund. Please do get in touch if you would like us to action a refund in light of this update.
We have been so overwhelmed with all of your kindness and lovely words about The Book Den. It's honestly made a very tricky time, much more bearable. We can't express how wonderful it has been to see so many of you making your way to the shop to offer us well wishes, donate and attend our fund raising events, thank you! We do however feel we may need a little longer to raise our funds so therefore, we have extended our time to raise this until the 10th of April.
I am sure that many local people in Hythe will know The Book Den but for those of you who aren’t familiar.. Hello! We are a children’s bookshop offering a wide and diverse range of books. We began our bookshop journey in December 2018, with our vision of being a bookstore and a reading hub to the local community. Including story times, craft activities, author events and so much more. Whilst offering the most captivating literature out there! We opened our doors and enjoyed many months of story-times and were on hand recommending books for babies through to teens. It was a bumpy first year but an amazing one! Just as we were starting to navigate our way through the world of bookselling, we were faced with the pandemic. We had only been open a little over a year and we hadn’t yet established a solid customer base to see us through online, and our website was some what or a work in progress.
Our story time sessions were one of the main reasons why we were able to stay open through the first year. Without being able to run them, we were fearful that we wouldn’t survive. So, like many shops we found ourselves in a dire situation. We launched the www.thebookden.co.uk and sat tight hoping for orders to flood in and they did to start with….then all went silent. Because of the pandemic when we did reopen we had to with no staff due to affordability. We have run the store with just myself and this has been very tricky to stabilise our opening times. With School closures, sickness and added stresses we have often had to shut early on some days. The shop has been open but the pandemic continues.
We have clung on for dear life, to our dream but also because we are passionate about books, we feel we are a much needed space to many local people. We are the place you can come to if you have no idea what book to read next. That your 7 year old has a reading ability higher than their age, they want something challenging but the content needs to be age appropriate. We are also the ones to come to when your child is feeling a little less than confident when reading! We are here to inspire your child. To help grandparents find books for children, they may not have seen through the pandemic. The child that is choosing their first ever new book as they glide through our shelves with sheer delight and excitement. We are there. We know our stuff! We can weave through the shelves and pick out exactly what we think your child will adore! Whether it’s laughing until their belly hurts or reading fast paced fantasy novels, we know exactly what books to suggest. We spend our time out of shop reading our way through every new book we possibly can. We find books for children that are fascinated with ants, dinosaurs, volcanos and everything in between!
The world of children’s book selling is a magical and wonderful place to be. Seeing children running into the store after School to tell us that the book they read at the weekend was INCREDIBLE and like nothing else they’ve read before is pure magic! The hand written book requests they post through our letter box walking past on their way to School before we open. The children making their journey to us to post their letter to Father Christmas in our North Pole post box asking for books! The children that just come in because they know it’s OK to just sit still and pick up a book and read with no expectation to purchase. The parents that know we are a safe space for them! As a mother of four myself, I know toddlers climb and press every button on every book, whilst doing a spinning dance and showing me their new light up shoes! It’s exciting stuff being in our shop we will say - let them be! We are here for them after all! So really I guess what I am saying is I love our book shop! Personally my infatuation with the beauty of words and how authors use their art to gift us such enriching storytelling and pure escapism is something I will never stop fighting for. These books need to be out there. Our children need a bookstore. A physical store. We need our doors open. Folkestone and Hythe council recently published statistics saying that tourism was down by little over 40% since 2020 and my goodness haven't we felt it! As soon as the new variant was mentioned last year we noticed the deathly silence of our till. Tumbleweed rolled through our store and Christmas trade never came. We new we were on borrowed time. Then the store had to close again whilst I recovered from an Illness which was quite unfortunate timing for the store! This is our last hope.
So what do we need I hear you say?
We need to get back in track. Our story rooms need work. Property maintenance is weighing us down. We need staff. We can’t afford any help to keep our doors open when little things in life crop up. We need to stabilise ourselves. We are stressed to the limits tackling each red-letter through our door. We are desperate. We needs emergency funds. We need funds to secure our premises for the future. Anything extra if we were so lucky will go towards a few outstanding bills from our lack of Christmas trade, maintenance, expansion including use of courtyard, YA reading space, revamp of our story room. renewal of our website licences. new stock. marketing. A staff member. More events.
Future of The Book Den if we raise these funds.
We will be back!! Back to daily story times, more story rooms we would love to open our outdoor space and have a cosy reading room for the Young adults in Hythe. A story room that when's not in use will be a room children can come and find book related activities. Where parents can come sit and let their free willed exploring toddler go for a bit. A breathing space. To get our stock back on track so we can offer a larger range of books. Hold Local Author events and support our local Schools more. To take on a future bookseller!! We may even be able to have a little nook for the grown ups to grab a coffee and a peak through some grown-up books whilst their children read and browse the shelves! The sky's the limit really just in a world where money talks and you really just can't pay for things in books ( which is baffling they surely are worth more than anything! ) we just need to get off the starting block. Thank you Harriett x