We’re delighted to welcome book lovers back to our shops. However, as you can imagine, in order to do everything we can to protect the health of our customers and staff, we’ve implemented a number of new safety measures. As the situation continues to develop, we’ll be following government advice closely and will update this page with new or altered information where relevant.
Please look through this page to learn how your visit will be affected, and what we’ll be asking of you as a bookshop customer—and if you’re not sure about coming instore just yet, you can always order online.
Wear a face covering instore
From Friday 24 July, HM Government is introducing, by law, the compulsory use of face coverings in shops, with a limited number of exceptions. Government defines a face covering as a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth. Please wear a face covering at all times in store, except when seated in the Café.
Exceptions include: Children under the age of 11; If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering; If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress; If you are with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate. Further guidance can be found on the UK Government website here. In extreme circumstances, should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, as a final resort we reserve the right to refuse entry.
Check shops and opening hours
To see which of our shops are open from which dates, and their opening hours, visit our Shops page.
Our shops pages will be kept as up to date as possible with any changes in opening hours and any other amenities that are affected. You can also follow us on Twitter for updates on shop openings.
To keep up to date with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our online service, check our Covid-19 page.
Use Click & Collect online
Click & Collect and Deliver to Store are now available for all our open shops (so long as the book is available!) As further shops open, these options will be turned back on accordingly.
If you’re looking for something specific, you can always use Click & Collect online before journeying in. If an item is showing as available to Click & Collect in two hours or less, that typically shows it is in stock at the relevant location—so using Click & Collect is the best way to be sure what you're looking for is available in the shop you want to visit. Click and Collect also allows you to reserve in advance, so the item(s) won't get purchased before you arrive. You’ll also get a confirmation once your reservation is secured, so you don’t need to travel in before it’s ready. At the point of reopening, our shops will not have received deliveries for some weeks; as such we may not at first have the full selection of new and bestselling titles you’d typically expect.
Look out for instore guidance
Below you’ll find more about some of the specific protective measures we’ve installed. As all shops are built differently, and as the situation is a dynamic one, it’s key that you pay attention to instore guidance both upon arrival and within the bookshop: look out for explanatory signage and staff direction and, if you’re ever unsure, just ask a bookseller for help.
Keep a safe distance apart from customers and staff
You’ll be familiar with this one by now. Please continue to practice social distancing and respect other customers and booksellers by keeping a safe distance apart. When moving around the shop please give way to others, and move respectfully around others customers as they browse, and booksellers as they are working.
Expect queues and customer limits
Depending on the shop and how busy we are, you may be expected to queue outside until a sufficient number of customers have left the shop. The number of people allowed instore will vary shop by shop—keep an eye out for signage and staff guidance.
Use the hand sanitiser provided
In each of our shops you’ll find hand sanitiser units for use upon entry and exit and in other key areas of the shop; please do help yourself to hand sanitiser and follow the instructions on the unit.
Protective screens at desks
All our tills have been fitted with protective screens. Please stay on the customer side of these screens at all times, and follow staff instructions on how to present your purchase and pay.
Pay by contactless or card
Please do what you can to pay by contactless or, if that isn’t possible, by card. Till points will be provided with a stylus for entering your PIN, which is easier to disinfect regularly than the card machine buttons. We’re still accepting cash if you can’t pay by a contactless method or card.
Give way on the stairs
Some areas will operate as a guided one-way system. However, as this isn’t possible throughout all our shops, we’re asking that in order to maintain a two metre distance from other customers and staff you pause and give way where necessary. For those shops with stairs between levels, please do give way to others to allow social distancing.
Limit lift usage
Some of our shops have lifts, and at this time these are reserved for use by customers who can’t use the stairs. If you’re using a lift, please limit usage to one person or household at any time.
For the time being all our public and private events are cancelled or postponed with no set date, and we are not currently making bookings. Please see our Events page for a full and up to date list of any events as they do proceed.
These are the key measures you’ll experience as you visit us during our reopening from lockdown, which are part of a larger set of practices we’ve developed in conjunction with government advice, including extensive PPE, sanitiser provisions and guidance for our staff, changes to our instore and furniture layout, and a cleaning regimen for front and back of house areas.