The North Recommends: Collected Bookshop

Collected is an independent bookshop newly opened in the centre of Durham City. The shop may be new but the business is not. Regular visitors to Durham might recognise the brand from our lovely bookshop van, Cordelia – the shop front for the mobile and online business we have been running since May 2022. So far, we have enjoyed talking about and selling books at the weekly market in Durham, at community events, and even at a music festival. Over the summer we also ran a programme of events, enjoying hearing writers such as Annie Garthwaite on Cecily and Samantha Walton on Everybody Needs Beauty talk about their books. As sad as it is for Cordelia to be going into retirement, we are really excited to have opened a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop, offering drinks and cakes as well as fantastic books, and all the possibilities that this opens – including hosting events in this year’s Durham Book Festival.

The Collected shop is at unit 44 in Durham’s Riverwalk centre, just inside the turning off Framwellgate Bridge. We are open 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, offering the chance to pick up a new read with your morning coffee, and 10am-4pm Sunday; we’re planning to add late night openings on Thursdays and Fridays very soon, too. Our stock ranges across fiction, non-fiction, young adult, and books for children but our specialism is in work by women.

With the likes of Margaret Atwood, Bernadine Evaristo, and Hilary Mantel winning critical acclaim, and Agatha Christie, J. K. Rowling, and Danielle Steel being some of the biggest-selling authors of all time, some might think our focus is unnecessary. It is true that the bestseller lists are more evenly balanced between women and men than they used to be, but this is in spite of there still being a marked gender bias in publishing, the media, and reading habits. Fewer women than men have been shortlisted for and won the Booker Prize while newspaper and magazine book reviews have been shown to look at fewer books by women than by men. Perhaps most staggering are the findings of the recent study on diversity in GCSE English Literature by Penguin Random House and the Runnymede Trust – that less than 1% of students study work written by a person of colour, and less than 7% study work written by a female author.

At Collected, we simply LOVE books and reading and are looking forward to sharing the great depths and diversity of literature into which readers can dive, preferably over a nice cup of coffee. On our radar, we’re particularly looking forward to the publication of Kamila Shamsie’s new novel, Best of Friends, and have been delighted to add Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes and Lucy Worsley’s biography of Agatha Christie to our shelves recently. We are also looking forward to launching our reading in translation book group in partnership with New Writing North and Durham University’s translator-in-residence, Ruth Clarke.

We look forward to welcoming you!

  • Books on a table with yellow roses