Bookstore bucks trend by offering unique eventsÂ

AN INDEPENDENT bookstore is fighting the threat of online and supermarket shopping by hosting events, encouraging children to read and offering unique experiences.Â

Children's author Miriam Halahmy at The Hayling Island Bookshop
Children's author Miriam Halahmy at The Hayling Island Bookshop

The Hayling Island Bookshop, in Mengham Road, has been promoting a programme of events and supporting the Summer Reading Challenge, run by Portsmouth Central Library. 

Colin Telford, who runs the shop, said: '˜There is pressure with declining footfall on the high street and there is also pressure to encourage traditional reading in youngsters as there are many distractions from other electronic devices. 

'˜So it is important for us to do events and to promote reading as it creates excitement around literacy and brings books into our childrens' minds. This is all good for our business. Events to us are as important as our bricks and mortar shop.' 

Children's author Miriam Halahmy at The Hayling Island Bookshop

The shop has partnered with the Summer Reading Challenge for the sixth year. It is also marketing to local schools. 

Colin said: '˜It is a virtuous circle. Schools buy their books from us and that means that we stay in business and people can come to the store with their children and get excited by books. They get advice and an experience that you cannot replicate online.' 

The store recently held a busy signing with children's author Miriam Halahmy, who signed copies of her latest book Behind Closed Doors. Miriam has a long association with Hayling Island and has written the Hayling Cycle of books set on Hayling. 

The next Summer Reading Challenge event will take place at Portsmouth Central Library this Saturday from 10.30am until 3pm. 

A '˜Mischief Makers Extravaganza' will see free activities including Caribbean storyteller Coco P, live science, craft activities and children's author Guy Bass will be signing books.

The Hayling Island Bookshop will be selling copies of Guy's books afterwards.