• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Gulp Fiction bookstore in Covered Market will open up second floor


Sep 21, 2022

In February, Oliver Mason launched Gulp Fiction in the Covered Market in Oxford.

For the former fiction buyer, it was a dream come true to open his own bookshop and the historic market seemed like the ideal location.

After waiting a long time for a proper bookshop to open – The Little Bookshop closed in 2003 – customers have given Mr Mason and his small team of staff a warm welcome.

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It turns out they like the combination of books, beer and coffee, and the bookstore has become a popular place to hang out.

Oxford Mail: Photo: Andy FfrenchPhoto: Andy Ffrench

At first the former Blackwell’s staffer who has also worked for Missing Bean, stocked only secondhand books but now he is sourcing new titles too.

The store has become a destination for tourists and students and as a result of this initial success, Mr Mason is expanding his offer.

On the second floor, the shelves are to be filled with non-fiction titles.

Mr Mason said: “It’s been going well – it’s nice to see local people embracing what we are doing and tourists and students too.

“We have also been running a special offer – a free coffee when you buy a book from certain displays – and that has been a good way of getting people through the door, reading and drinking coffee.

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“There’s a good space upstairs so I want to fill it with non-fiction titles.

“The space is all ready and I’m just waiting for some books to arrive – history, art, science and nature.”

Oxford Mail: Photo: Andy FfrenchPhoto: Andy Ffrench

The bookseller has an alcohol licence and has been running a number of events, including jazz sessions on a Sunday.

He is hopeful that there will be many opportunities for evening events, once it becomes clear what is going to happen regarding the market’s opening hours.

The city council has been consulting on possible changes to the market’s opening hours and the consultation has now concluded.

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Oxford Mail: Photo: Andy FfrenchPhoto: Andy Ffrench

City councillor Imogen Thomas said last month: “The council is working to ensure the historic Covered Market thrives well into the future, and provides the variety of options for entertainment, socialising and shopping that customers want to see.

“We’re keen to hear how local people and visitors to the city would like extended opening hours to happen.

“This could be the first time in its long history the Covered Market will play a part in Oxford’s night time economy, potentially providing a meeting place for people going to the theatre or other social events.

“It would also give people a chance to visit and shop after work hours.”

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF