Wanted: Literature lover to start new chapter in Lee-on-the-Solent bookshop's history

WANTED: a book lover to keep running a proudly independent bookshop.

Friday, 27th January 2017, 6:00 am
Rick Barter who is moving on from The Bookshop in Lee-on-the-Solent Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Rick Barter, leaseholder of The Book Shop, in Lee-on-the-Solent, is looking to pass the reins onto a budding literature lover who shares the same enthusiasm for words as himself.

He has run the shop, in High Street, for the past 13 years. Now looking to delve into different projects, Rick – originally from New York – wants to find the right person who will keep the shop going as a bookshop.

He said: ‘Being a bookseller is a lifestyle choice and you have to have a love of books and literature.

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‘I could have shut the shop down at the end of the lease.

‘But we have always been needed by the local community. I am absolutely convinced the only reason this shop in a seaside town has survived is because it has served the local community and we are part of it.

‘There are not many independent bookshops around any more – there’s only myself, one in Hayling Island and one in Petersfield.

‘People say they miss the one that used to be on Gosport High Street.’

The store was opened in 1993 by Leonard Miles, and Rick says he has heard numerous stories about past owners, each of whom has put a unique spin on the shop.

Rick added: ‘What I would say is people should not do it for the money.

‘I probably could have made more money doing something else but it was a lifestyle decision.

‘You have to have a love of books and literature. I’m a trained actor, a former primary school teacher and librarian, so I have always had a passion for words and language.’

Rick stressed the importance of people still using their local libraries and that The Book Shop was not in direct competition with them.

‘It is a lovely established business on the High Street and it has a nice flat above – my commute to work is 10 seconds down the stairs,’ he said.

‘I think the shop is one of the things that makes Lee special.

‘Can you imagine Lee without the bookshop?’

For more information, call the shop on (023) 9255 6592 or visit leebookshop.co.uk/contact_us.php