THE owner of an independent bookshop is looking to find new owners for her popular West Oxfordshire store.

Rachel Phipps has owned The Woodstock Bookshop since its opening in May 2008 and its success has been beyond her wildest expectations.

Mrs Phipps said: “When I first opened, I had no idea it would still be here, almost twelve years later.

“I also had no idea that the bookshop would have hosted so many talks by writers and poets I most admire.”

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During the store’s almost 12 year stint in Oxford Street, the shop has been shortlisted three times for independent bookshop of the year in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

Mrs Phipps added: “I also had no plans to start a poetry festival that ran for eight consecutive years and featured most of the best poets writing today.”

The likes of Carol Ann Duffy, Alice Oswald and Wendy Cope have all featured at the poetry festival through the years.

The festivals received no external funding aside from a contribution from Princeton University Press to cover the cost of flyers, therefore their success was testament to Mrs Phipps.

She added: “Most importantly, I had no idea of the many kind and wonderful people I would meet as customers in the bookshop.

Oxford Mail:

“They have been the reason for the bookshop’s success and will be what I miss most when I shut the door for the last time.

“The bookshop has become - as a regular customer wrote to me following last year’s poetry festival - ‘a Woodstock institution’ and is doing well financially.

“If there is anyone who thinks they would like to own an independent bookshop and is interested in taking it on, do contact me.

“If no one comes forward, I will shut the shop in late spring or early summer.

“There was a report recently which said that independent bookshops are flourishing, and that is certainly our experience.

“A new owner, with energy and vision, could carry the bookshop forward into the next decade and I hope that will happen.”

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Mrs Phipps said she was ‘running out of energy and ready for a change’.

Staff at the bookshop expressed their sadness at the closure of the store, saying they were ‘extremely saddened’ by the news and the shop ‘very much belonged to Rachel’.

A number of customers have visited the shop or written in to express ‘how much they love the bookshop’.

The bookstore was named in The Independent newspaper’s Top 50 UK Bookshops in 2009 and two years ago, the store celebrated its tenth anniversary with a ‘fact and fiction’ evening.

Two monthly book groups take place at the store, one a poetry group and one which focuses more on fiction.