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      21.05.2001 22:33
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      I called in at my local Book Depot, at the retail park near Bolton’s Reebok Stadium. It’s a relatively new store, probably been there 2 or 3 years, and I just thought it was another of those cheapo remainder book shop. Well, it is cheap, and it is, undeniably a book shop, but it’s not like many of the others – and I found it a real pleasure to visit. The Book Depot manages to combine the best of the remainder style of shop, with a quality booksellers’ (such as Waterstones). Like in remainder stores, the books are cheap, but the books in The Book Depot are ones that you might actually want to buy, things that are not hopelessly out of date, and many of the books I saw in there even inspired me to buy them as presents for others. Like Waterstones, the stock is attractively displayed, in meaningful sections, on nice looking shelves, and in pleasant airy premises. It’s a delight to browse in The Book Depot, and now I don’t mind at all if I’m early for a trip to the cinema next door, as I’ll pop in and have a look around. It’s like a Partners store, in some respects, but I think that the range of books is better, and less obviously remainder stock. Like Partners, the Book Depot also sells greetings cards, (very cheap packs of giftcards), and stationery – it’s excellent for school supplies, writing paper, and files. There is also a very good section of artists’ materials, very reasonably priced. But it’s called the Book depot, and it’s mainly about books. There are some good hardbacks, the kind of things you read reviews of in the Sunday newspapers two or three years ago but haven’t got around to reading yet – some are priced as low as £2.00, others are perhaps reduced by 30%. All of the stock is reduced, and usually it’s at least half price. There’s a good selection of very good value paperbacks, with a “2 fo
      r £3.00” offer – mostly fiction, but not all. All the stock is in very good condition, with nice clean dustjackets, and no ghastly marks across them (I remember years ago buying remaindered books which had coloured pen across the outside of the pages, like a library stamp, clearly identifying it as ‘substandard’). So, definitely the sort of thing you could give as a present. But beware, once inside, you’ll probably be tempted to buy things for yourself! I snapped up two 2 Collins Gem books, a favourite series of mine, for only £1.00 each. Also a local history book, and a couple of hardback autobiographies. If you see something you fancy, get it there and then, as it may be gone next time. I got some revision aids for GCSE with CDROMs, for £6.99, initially being sold for £9.99 (I think the published price had been around £16). I went back, hoping to buy another one on a subject I’d seen before, but sadly they’d all gone. The children’s book section is complemented by some toys, mostly very cheap stuff, and it’s a good place to pick up some reasonably priced stocking fillers. As with anything like this, it may not be exactly what the kids are into this minute, so steer away from the things with characters on them (Pokemon will no doubt be sneered at!) unless you’re certain they’re going to like it. There are some CDs, videos and CDROMs for sale, but these do tend to be either cheap and nasty (especially in the case of the music CDs), outdated, or the sort of thing that no-one’s ever going to buy (Lionel Blair video, anyone?). That’s not to say you won’t find something that you fancy buying, but you’re not likely to find that collector’s item you’ve been scouring the record shops for. So, if you’re any sort of bibliophile, I’d recommend a visit to the Book Depot. It’s obviously got its limits, and doesn&#
      8217;t have the comprehensive stock, or knowledgeable staff you’ll find in a bookshop like Waterstones or Borders. But if you find something you want at The Book Depot, it will certainly be a bargain. Details of the store I visited: 23 The Linkway, Middlebrooke Retail Park, Horwich, Bolton BL6 6JA Tel 01204 469220 There must be many others around the country, though.

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