Criminally Good Books: The newest independent bookstore opens in York

Read on if it’s been a sec since your last impulse book buy


It’s good news for York’s bookworms and fans of crime fiction as the city’s newest independent bookstore, Criminally Good Books, has now opened after much anticipation from locals.

The bookstore opened on March 5th and for the first week of the store’s opening, customers can enjoy a 10 percent in-store discount on everything. The shop opens from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and 10 am to 4pm on Sundays.

As well as being a comfortable space to freely browse the diverse collection of books on offer, the shop will function as a venue for unique events such as author signings, and fingerprint classes, and also provide a recording studio for podcasters.

Located just by The Shambles at 14 Colliergate the store provides a range of genres for its customers, a few of which include crime fiction, mystery, thriller, historical, and true crime books with many being special edition, signed, or gift editions.

After numerous setbacks preventing the store from being opened at an earlier date, the shop’s manager, Isla Coole, emphasised that she “won’t have everything ready on day one but we will have really nice editions and signed editions and we’ve got a lot of events planed and booked in the diary.” She also told The York Tab: “I’m planning to bring in more features and additions to the shop.”

Isla told The York Tab of her aspirations to open a book shop in York. She said: “York has a long history of publishing, printing and independent bookshops but over the years that has reduced with a couple of bookshops closing in recent years.

“I really wanted to open a bookshop and I live in York so that, coupled with my love of crime fiction, and York’s history and tourism, I thought it would be the perfect place.”

Bookstores which have recently closed in York include Fossgate Books on Fossgate, Ken Spelman on Micklegate, and The Grimoire Bookshop on High Petergate.

The store was previously owned by Village Gallery which closed in April 2023. Isla took over the lease in November 2023 and told York Mix that since revealing the opening of the bookstore, there has been anticipation for the store’s opening. She said: “People have messaged asking when we are opening, asking if they can work in the shop, if they can bring their well-behaved dogs in whilst they browse.”

Isla’s aspiration for opening a bookstore and her passion for reading is not a new one, as she told York Mix: “My love of books started with my dad who worked for Harper Collins Publishers and who used to come home with bags of books on a weekly basis for the family to rummage through.

“We were brought up on Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.”

Isla added: “The only concerns I had were not making money or finding the right venue but we have a great little shop in a busy area so let’s hope we cover our costs.”

When asked about what drew her to opening a bookshop dedicated to crime fiction and true crime, Isla said: “Crime and true crime are amongst the fasted growing genres so it seemed like a no brainer to specialise. We have some amazing bookshops already in York like Little Apple Bookshop, The Portal Bookshop, and The Minster Gate Books so I wanted to create something a little different, a niche, and hopefully not recreate what already exists.”

Looking to the future of Criminally Good Books, Isla said: “We want Criminally Good Books to be a place for people to learn more about the genre, meet other interested readers, hang out and get book recommendations and to just have a nice homely vibe. We want people to come together through our events which we will be running in store and in other venues in York with some fantastic authors.”

A percentage of the book sleeve and bookmark sales will also go to Criminally Good Books’ charity partner IDAS, who support those affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

More information for the store can be found on Indie York and updates can be found on their Instagram. Or head to their website to join their mailing list – stay in the know and satisfy your inner detective.

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