Royston's first bookshop in 30 years is holding a launch event this weekend.

Bow Books, at 6 Angel Pavement, was opened by 76-year-old Paul Bowes, an experienced bookseller who came out of semi-retirement after recognising the need for a bookshop in the town.

Paul, who has worked in books and publishing all his life, previously ran a bookshop in Dunstable for 25 years.

He said: "That was great - it was a community bookshop back in the days when you weren't online."

Royston Crow: Bow Books owner Paul BowesBow Books owner Paul Bowes (Image: Clive Porter)The bookshop will also feature books about the local history of Roy

After semi-retiring to Yorkshire for 15 years, Paul worked for a publisher before returning to live near Royston about two years ago.

He told the Crow: "I realised Royston hadn't had a bookshop for 30 years - I used to sell books from Dunstable to Royston's previous bookshop.

"I thought 'nobody's going to do anything about it, so maybe I should do it'."

Paul noticed the premises on Angel Pavement were available, and started preparing to open his shop, which he said took a long time as it "needed a lot of work".

The shop sells a mix of new and second hand books, and has a children's room at the back as well as a 'folio lounge' for special editions.

The folio lounge is also used to display paintings by the local art society, and is a comfortable living room with coffee machines where customers can sit and read.

Paul said: "We'll see how we go. There's a book club that's going to meet once a month and we're hoping people will come and use the folio lounge in creative ways.

"A bookshop needs to be part of the whole community. A town is lacking without a bookshop. It's so much more than an ordinary shop."

The bookshop will also feature books about the local history of Royston.

Royston Crow: Bow Books has opened at Angel Pavement in RoystonBow Books has opened at Angel Pavement in Royston (Image: Clive Porter)

"Most people have never seen them," Paul explained. "That's all part of getting people to be interested and proud of our town. That's the sort of thing a bookshop can spark off in people.

"It's lovely for children to have a space to read if they haven't had a bookshop in their town before.

"Books are coming back now - the online influence has been damaging but people loving their kindles has plateaued.

"Some of the larger towns with independent bookshops have managed to get through covid, but many have closed down. Now there's only a handful left."


He said that the people of Royston have "rallied around" the new venture. 

"It's a very supportive town," Paul said. "It's not a big catchment, but there are definitely people who are very keen on reviving Royston."

An official opening event will be held at midday on Saturday, June 24, where author Jeffrey Archer will be signing his books.

Paul said the bookshop is looking for more events as they go along, with a local author already lined up for July.

Bow Books also offers 'three for two' on second hand books and children's books. For more information go to