Be part of a New Chapter in the Story of Mr B's

by Mr B's Emporium, Bath in Bath, Somerset, England

We’re growing our bookshop and need help to create an extraordinary space for kids and connect book-lovers with authors and illustrators

by Mr B's Emporium, Bath in Bath, Somerset, England

£49,632

raised of £70,000 stretch target

642

supporters
71% 13 days left
This project is using Flexible funding and will receive all pledges made by November 5th 2018 at 4:52pm

New stretch target

Thank You!


Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our campaign to date for helping us achieve our initial target. 


The way that our community of customers, fans and friends have come together with such generosity, so swiftly, has blown our book-addled minds.   


Those pledges, and even more than that the comments that everyone has posted alongside them, have shown us that we were right to suspect that lots of people are keen to play a more active part in helping to grow Mr B’s and make some truly special additions to it. And, looking beyond Mr B’s, it feels great to be playing a part in a really positive news story about the high street.  


Why a Stretch Target?
 

We’ve set a new stretch target of £70,000 which we want to try and reach by our crowdfunding deadline of 5th November (remember, remember….)  


Our initial target represented only a proportion of the project’s overall cost and we had envisaged still needing to turn to conventional (and expensive) bank funding for some of the overall cost. With your continued support that might no longer be necessary, meaning our resources will be focused on books not banks. 


If we can reach the stretch target it will mean that we are able to propel Mr B’s into its larger new home and create these inspiring new spaces entirely through internal investment, your pledges through this campaign and our existing cash-flow facilities.  


Additional Elements
 

Achieving the stretch target would also make the following additional elements to the project possible: 


- Transforming the existing (soon to be former) children’s room by creating a stunning new window display area and moving the claw-foot bath from its window position to the centre of the room where, after some tlc and a striking new paint job, it will be raised up on a specially made plinth to continue its life as a book display; 


- Improving signage throughout the shop, including adding ornate standing signposts to help visitors navigate the newly expanded space; 


- Adding additional mural work by local artist Alex Lucas on the stairwell to our non-fiction basement area that will tie in the old and new areas and further celebrate the joy of the printed word;  


- Enabling us to use durable and environmentally friendly birch-ply for all new shelving;


- Massively improving the efficiency of Mr B’s behind the scenes by making the very best of our much-needed new additional off-shop floor space in the basement of the new premises, where we will receive books, package books for dispatch and look after our customer orders.  


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More Mr B's to Inspire More Readers

Mr B’s is looking to grow. We have an immediate one-off opportunity to add the adjacent premises to Mr B’s at 13 John Street to our existing shop.  

But we don't want to just add some more bookshelves. We’re determined to create something bold; something that shows kids, and reminds grown-ups, how exciting reading can be and something that shows that the high street is very much alive and kicking.  

We have outgrown our physical space both in terms of the busyness of the shop floor and the tiny space behind the scenes for servicing our wonderfully hectic shop. And now we're thrilled that our plan to expand without relocating has become a possibility, because every day we hear from our customers that our quirky labyrinthine space is part of what makes Mr B’s special.

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We are hoping to take on the lease of our additional space this Autumn and immediately begin work on preparing it. We hope to open a small teaser-area in December 2018 before opening and integrating the new space fully and completing improvements to our existing shop, by February 2019.

But in order to make this happen we need to ask you to be involved as well, which is why we’ve created this crowdfunding campaign. We want to create something so special for Bath that all customers - locals and the visitors we help draw to the city’s high street - can come and experience the very best a twenty-first century bookshop can be. Together with local carpenters, artists and other experts we’re poised to make this all a reality – but we need your help.

Here is a taste of what we want to make happen.  

The Wood between the Words - Our New Room for Children

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A young visitor once wrote in our guest book “I love this shop …and I didn’t think I liked books”. We want more of that!

In our ever-changing digital world we understand and embrace a good bookseller’s crucial role in helping to build a nation of young readers. That’s why we want to create an incredible new children’s room that will give us the perfect space to talk with our young customers and share our love of reading with them.

Our new indoor woodland of books will mean:  

  • a vastly expanded inspirational space for young readers with two seating areas, cushioned book-nooks, a garden bench and, needless to say, many more books with which to excite every age group;

  • mural artwork and other special woodland touches by Bristol artist Alex Lucas will complement her Reading Tree which we unveiled in 2017 and which will move to its new home at the centre of this leafy new kids room;

  • regular children’s storytelling sessions for pre-school ages, something the existing shop configuration doesn’t allow for;

  • space to introduce a new monthly YA book club to give Bath’s teenagers and young adults a dynamic forum for talking about books;

  • space to host Reading Spas for children within the children’s room itself, allowing us to fully involve our younger guests in choosing the books that excite them the most;  

  • capacity at last for more specialist selections of fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels that are so crucial for encouraging reluctant readers and young readers with dyslexia; and

  • space for children’s author events and regular weekend signing appearances.  


The Imaginarium 

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We've also dreamed up a special area to celebrate the crafts of writing and illustration that underpin everything a bookshop is about.

  • Writers and illustrators will be able to hire ”The Imaginarium” for up to a week at a time at a modest fee with all proceeds going to a local charity.

  • “The Imaginarium” will be a sumptuous, cosy space with a beautiful desk and easel and decorated with trinkets and oddities galore, all designed to inspire and to spark the imagination – and all set in the heart of our vibrant bookshop.  

  • We hope that the those who spend time in “The Imaginarium” will be energised by spending time working amidst the energy of the Mr B’s shop floor.  

  • We want our customers to feel more connected than ever to the creative process behind the books we love to read; and we hope that seeing writers and illustrators at work might inspire the next generation.


A labyrinthine unashamedly bookish space for everyone

As well as the Imaginarium and the Wood between the Words, a bigger bolder Mr B's will mean:

  • a second in-house event space meaning we can host authors either in our existing salon-like 34-seater bibliotherapy room or a 50-seater ground floor space;  

  • vastly improved wheelchair access and comfort, including to ground floor events;  

  • further local jobs including the immediate recruitment of two new booksellers to our team;

  • more opportunities, thanks to the additional space, to collaborate with our friends in other local high street businesses on special events and occasions;

  • a special new illustrators' corner near a cosy fireplace allowing us to showcase and offer for sale prints and original artwork by a selected “book illustrator of the moment”;

  • a total of 38 new bays of books and many new display areas which will connect seamlessly with the existing shop to create a meandering world of books to explore; and

  • the rejuvenation of our existing spaces to improve displays and navigation and allow for better use of our windows that are often decorated by visiting illustrators.  


Above all, we want this to be a space which welcomes everyone, whether or not they’ve yet discovered the joys of reading. It should inspire book-agnostics and dazzle book-obsessives and it should keep Mr B’s at the centre of Bath’s unique high street offer - at a time when that high street needs good news stories to keep attracting visitors and serving local customers imaginatively.


Our story so far and what we think bookselling is all about 

This planned expansion is the most important step on our bookselling journey since we first opened Mr B’s in 2006.
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Back then, the shop was on just two floors and was manned only by husband and wife owners Nic and Juliette Bottomley, Juliette’s brother Harvey and the shop dog Vlashka.  


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Twelve years on and we are proud to have grown the business to the stage where we can employ 10 full-time booksellers as well as 3 part-time staff who work on our subscription gifts. Nic and Juliette still run the business, though Vlashka is getting a little elderly for regular shop floor appearances.  

From the very outset, Mr B’s has tried to build itself a reputation for three things in particular: 

  • consistently providing the highest level of customer service thanks to our loyal team, all chosen for their love and knowledge of books;

  • being a place where books are talked about and recommended animatedly all of the time; and

  • being a beautiful and slightly eccentric shop which is a joy to visit for our regulars and which is a destination that book-lovers from outside the city will seek out.

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As the shop has matured we’ve built on each of these aims consistently. We created our indulgent book consultation “Reading Spas” and then our bespoke Reading Subscriptions to keep the book conversations going.


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We added endless oddities and quirks to our space from our claw-foot bath book display, to our Tin-Tin wall and from our Chris Riddell graffiti toilet to our ceilings of cloth bags and of authors’ pens. A visit to Mr B’s should be about book discovery and just a little bit life-enhancing.

Over the years Mr B’s has won and been shortlisted for various awards including twice being named UK Independent Bookshop of the Year (British Book Awards); being listed as one of the Ten Best Bookshops in the World (Guardian); winning two Bath Life Awards (for retail and for innovation) and being short-listed in the Government’s Best Small Shops Award.  

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More important to us than those gongs though is the warm glow that kicks in when we get daily feedback from customers, or when we read the blogs people have written about their experiences visiting the shop, or when we're told we've played a part in getting a kid reading again, or when we see the lovely things people have written about us on Google and Tripadvisor.

Today, on Bookshop Day, an author described Mr B's as "a rarity, an oddity and a real treasure" and said "this isn't your everyday bookshop, it's probably the best in the world". Well, that's too much, and we can name many dozens of bookshops we remain in awe of, BUT it's this kind of response to our lively and irreverent approach, that makes us so determined to work with our supporters and customers to make this new chapter happen.

Why we’re asking for your support  

The cost of this expansion can and will in part be funded from the business’ cash-flow, existing facilities and from our own further investment. Mr B’s has been soundly and profitably run with an increasing turnover in each of its twelve years of trading to date and we do have a robust business plan going forward.  

However, this is an urgent, necessary and large-scale project (our shop floor space will expand by 55%) which represents the perfect opportunity for Mr B’s to offer much more to our community and our visitors, just as Britain’s high streets are coming under threat.  

That’s why, to do this properly and quickly, we’re turning to our many loyal customers and supporters in Bath and beyond. Raising funds through crowdfunding will provide the capital needed to bring The Woods between the Words and The Imaginarium to life and to ensure we can achieve our vision for this new endeavour. Your money will be spent directly on creating these amazing spaces with the help of local traders, craftspeople and artists. 


The Rewards 

We have put together a long list of wonderful and oddball rewards to thank you for your pledges. We have some exclusive thank you gifts, special sponsorships and a number of one-off experiences.  

Every one of our backers will receive a limited edition "Mr B's Imaginarium" cloth bag and will be thanked on our website. We’re also creating a supporters' ceiling in the newly expanded shop and having our friends at Meticulous Ink make a stunning letterpress thank-you bookmark.

For the first time ever – and exclusively for this campaign - we’re introducing three special Mr B’s memberships named for some appropriate authors and characters, which will entitle supporters to ongoing discounts on their book purchases. We’ve also got special book selections and all kinds of opportunities for you, or your business, to connect more with Mr B’s – for example by having your own shelf, working with us for a day, joining our podcast or sponsoring objects in the shop.  


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Please pledge and help spread the word

When it comes to books, we acknowledge and understand the digital but we shamelessly celebrate the physical. We believe that human recommendation is the perfect antidote to the algorithm. And we are sure that the best way to inspire the next generation of readers is a warm-hearted zany space full of grown-up book obsessives ready to share book ideas with them.

This expansion will secure our future ability to pursue these beliefs, and will allow us to do so all the more successfully, theatrically and for the benefit of ever more readers.  

We are so lucky to have loyal fans and advocates of our bookshop far and wide and we hope that you will choose to pledge your support for this project and become an even more integral part of Mr B’s.  

If you aren’t able to pledge, you can still be a huge help to us by sharing this campaign as much as you can via any form of social media, word-of-mouth, letter, postcard, phone call – anything, we’ll love you for it!

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

The Bag of Thanks

We’ll give you a new limited edition Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag and add your name to our Mr B’s supporters’ website list

£15 or more

The Thank You From Above

We’ll add your name to our new supporters’ ceiling at Mr B’s and to our website. We’ll give you a Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag too

£20 or more

The Letter-Pressed Thank You

You’ll receive a limited edition “thank-you” letterpress bookmark designed and printed by Meticulous Ink + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our supporters’ ceiling and website

£25 or more

The Fox, Finch & Tepper Thank You

You can choose to receive any one title published by our baby sister publishing house Fox, Finch & Tepper + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + letterpress bookmark + your name on our supporters’ ceiling and website

£30 or more

36 of 400 claimed

The French Noir Thank You

You’ll receive a numbered copy of the Mr B’s/Gallic Press limited edition of Pascal Garnier’s noir novel “How’s the Pain” with cover by Stanley Donwood + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our supporters’ ceiling and website

£40 or more

The Mr B's Stationery Thank You

We’ll be designing and introducing the first ever Mr B’s notepad. You’ll receive one from the very first box along with one of our beloved Palamino Blackwing pencils (naturally) + letterpress bookmark + Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£45 or more

The Mr B’s “T” Thank You

Another first, our new Mr B’s t-shirts are being designed now and will come in early 2019. We’ll give you one in your chosen size + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£50 or more

71 of 71 claimed

The Hero Book Bag Thank You

We’ll flex our recommendation muscles to imagine the favourite books of your hero or heroine (real or fictional). We’ll hand-pick and wrap three books that we think your hero or heroine would have had by their bedside, making a unique gift for you or a friend + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£50 or more

The Snout of Doubt Thank You

Not sure what to read next? Tricky-to-buy-for-friend? Never fear, the Snout of Doubt is here. Delegate your decision-making to shop dog Vlashka. We’ll place her in front of 2 different piles of books, each containing 3 superb 2018 paperback novels, aside a tasty treat. You’ll get the books next to the snaffled treat! + snaffle video + letterpress bookmark + Mr B's Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our supporters' ceiling & website

£60 or more

35 of 35 claimed

The Holiday Book Bag Thank You

Name a destination and we’ll put together the perfect literary travel bag for you or a friend. We’ll choose and wrap four books (fiction or narrative non-fiction) themed to the location of your choice + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£60 or more

The Friendly Face Thank You

A lovely gift for younger book lovers. You will receive four of our very favourite paperback picture books on the theme of inclusivity and acceptance + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling & website.

£65 or more

The Chart Joker Thank You

This one-time use special joker token can be exchanged in Mr B’s or on our website at any point in 2019 for one copy of each of our Top 6 Fiction or Non-Fiction Chart + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£80 or more

20 of 45 claimed

The Sit Down Thank You

Be forever part of the furniture at Mr B’s. We’ll put the name of your choice on a plaque on a Mr B’s event chair and you’ll get a pair of tickets to any four of our in-house events so you can try out the chair you’ve sponsored + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£100 or more

8 of 8 claimed

The Animal Mural Thank You

Choose your favourite forest or jungle animal and local artist Alex Lucas will paint it onto her mural in our stunning new children’s room. We’ll give you a photo of her depiction of your animal + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£150 or more

2 of 2 claimed

The Broadcasted Thank You

You and a friend will be Jess’ special guests on a Mr B’s podcast talking about your favourite books. You’ll join Jess and a colleague for a 45 minute recording session in the shop (evening to be agreed)and your episode will be released a few weeks’ later + goodie bag including advance reading copies + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£175 or more

The Mr B’s Favourites Thank You

We will send you 12 wrapped books, one chosen by each member of the Mr B’s team as their favourite read of Spring 2019 together with reading notes explaining why we love them so much + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£200 or more

1 of 1 claimed

The Imaginarium Desk Thank You

We’ll engrave your name or business’ name on a brass plaque on the writer’s desk in our new Imaginarium + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£200 or more

5 of 5 claimed

The Bench Plaque Thank You

We’ll engrave your name or business’ name on one of five brass plaques on the beautiful garden bench that will sit close to the tree in the centre of our new children’s room + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£200 or more

3 of 25 claimed

The Event Sponsor Thank You

We’ll give your business named sponsorship of 1 of the first 25 author events (from intimate to huge) that we host after our expansion. We’ll put your flyers on chairs, mention you in all publicity, give you 6 front-row seats for you and your guests and a massive on-stage thank you. A lucky dip will match sponsoring companies to events + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£250 or more

The Milne Membership Thank You

You’ll receive Milne Membership of Mr B’s for life which, in honour of “When We Were Six”, grants you 6% off all future purchases of books from us whether at the shop or online. We will give you a personal non-transferable bronze membership card and secure web-code + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£250 or more

6 of 13 claimed

The Personal Shelf Thank You

You can curate your own “favourites” shelf in the bibliotherapy room at Mr B’s for six months. We‘ll display six of your favourite books on your own named shelf in pride of place alongside the Mr B’s team favourites and you can spread the word about them to other customers by completing your own Mr B's handwritten review cards + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£275 or more

4 of 4 claimed

The Join the Crew Thank You

Be a bookseller for the day! Come and join the team, work the till, recommend to customers, co-host a Reading Spa, be Mr and Mrs B’s guest for a lovely lunch, check-in books, smell the books, perhaps work backstage at an author event + goodie bag including advance reading copies + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£300 or more

2 of 5 claimed

The "Here We Go" Thank You

Buy the unwavering support of Mr B’s for your favourite sports team for a year. From professional to very amateur, football to roller derby, local or distant, Mr B’s will spread the word about your team, buy your team’s shirt and display it and shout about results on social media. First come first served for each of 2019-2023! + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£400 or more

1 of 1 claimed

The Penguin Table Thank You

This is your chance to own the glass topped table constructed from 98 Penguin books (photo opposite (not the man!)) that has graced Mr B’s for four years (180cm(w) x 64(h) x 40(d)). Created by artist Annie Scotland (aka Ed’s mum) who painstakingly drilled through the books to allow metal spindles to be inserted in each leg + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling & website. Collect only.

£400 or more

2 of 2 claimed

The Children’s Party Thank You

You can host an exclusive children’s party in the new Wood Between the Words children’s room. Up to twelve kids will be greeted by some of the Mr B’s team (on a Sunday between 5pm-7pm to be agreed), for bookish treasure hunts, games, party food, drinks, story-time and a book each to take away + you’ll receive a letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£500 or more

The Mole Membership Thank You

You’ll receive Mole Membership of Mr B’s which, in honour of Adrian’s secret diary, will give you 13¾% off all future purchases of books from Mr B’s whether at the shop or online. We will give you a personal non-transferable silver membership card and secure web-code + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£500 or more

3 of 4 claimed

The Candlelit Book Group Thank You

Bring your book group of up to 10 people for a candlelit book group evening at Mr B’s with bubbly and pizza and two of the Mr B’s team on hand to participate in the discussions + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bags for everyone to take away with some advance reading copies + letterpress bookmarks + the name of you or your book group on the Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£600 or more

1 of 2 claimed

The Back to School Thank You

You can send two of the Mr B’s team into the local school of your choice to help inspire young readers. We’ll lead a session with a year group of your or the school’s choice and read from and recommend some of their favourite books. They’ll leave behind a large box of books for the school library and a LOT of eager new book-fans + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£750 or more

The Heller Membership Thank You

You’ll receive Heller membership of Mr B’s which (with no catch) will grant you 22% off all future purchases of books from Mr B’s whether at the shop or online. We will give you a personal non-transferable gold membership card and secure web-code + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website

£2,500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

The Bookshop Band Thank You

The incredible Bookshop Band, born here at Mr B’s, will write a song about your favourite book (or, if you’re an author, about your book!) and debut it as part of a special one-hour concert performance, with bubbly and nibbles, for you and 25 guests at Mr B’s! + Heller Membership of Mr B‘s + letterpress bookmark + Mr B’s Imaginarium cloth bag + your name on our Mr B’s supporters’ ceiling and website


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