Our latest Bookshop of the Month is Dormouse Books, and we couldn’t be happier to feature them!

The Belper based shop was started with the goal of having a positive social influence as opposed to making profit. Dormouse Books is a CIC, or community interest company, which means that any “surplus” they produce (money over normal running costs) is used for the community like offering free courses, gifting book vouchers to children, and hosting big literary events.

And Other Stories collaborated with Dormouse Books for a day during the Independent Bookshop Week (17 June 2023) and got chatting with Dormouse Books’ Stephanie Limb about their shop.


What do you think is special about Dormouse Books?

 We’re a social enterprise and our main aims are to provide free literary events. This is where we spend any surplus money we have. We also get some small grants to cover some additional costs. We have a really carefully curated selection of stock and we’re pretty good at recommending books.

If money was no object, what changes would you make to the shop?

If we had a lot of money we’d knock through into the flat upstairs and create two more floors for books! The middle floor would be brilliant for hosting events. We’d also put on more events.

How / why did you get into bookselling?

I love books. I was a secondary school English teacher but never felt like I was allowed to gush about books and make students love them too, because of the curriculum. After I left teaching I set up another social enterprise and learned about running a not for profit. I always felt Belper needed an independent bookshop and the property became available that looked like it needed to be a bookshop. It just felt like the right thing to do and since opening the community have been so supportive. They are so grateful to have us.

What’s the funniest interaction you’ve ever had with a customer?

I was asked to recommend a book to a local book club who wanted a short literary thriller. I was going to recommend In the Cut by Susanna Moore but warned them there was a lot of sex. They really liked it and came back for more , which led me to  discovering a secret superpower. I’m pretty good at picking literary books with lots of sex scenes. With some customers I’ve become known for leading with, ‘how much sex would you like today?’ One customer has suggested I start subscription boxes of ‘literary smut’. I’m not sure how many authors would want to be marketed as literary smut, but think it might be a good business idea.

What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy. I’m not I could read anything by Deborah Levy but it’s my favourite of all her fiction. I love the simplicity of her prose and the way she trusts the reader to work out what she’s not saying.

What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?

Porn by Polly Barton. I never stop recommending this book. It’s made up of nineteen interviews between the author and her acquaintances about their porn consumption. It’s candid and funny and thought provoking and conversation provoking.

What would be your desert island book?

Such a tough question! How to choose? In a perfect world there would be a collected works of Anne Carson for me to take, but since one doesn’t exist I’d have to go for Glass, Irony and God, by Anne Carson because I love ‘The Glass Essay’ so, so much. It manages to be a poem, an essay and a short story.

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