Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ian Allan, Birmingham

Ian Allan BirminghamHere is irony. The first shop to be affected by the refurbishment of Birmingham New Street station was Ian Allan's excellent transport bookshop. One of the escalators goes straight through the shop, or at least where the shop used to be.

Every cloud has a silver lining though apparently and in this case the enforced move has pushed the shop about 50 feet along the road and into premises occupied for many years by a Christian bookshop. I'd assumed that this move would result in a consolidation to a single floor rather than the two small ones at the old place.

How wrong I was. There are still two floors but each has the area of the old place and makes this the biggest in the chain. In fact the upper one might be even bigger. The space isn't empty either - from somewhere there is a whole lot of extra stock as the shelves are full and the cabinets chocka. Old favourites such as the extensive specialist magazine rack downstairs are still there - although the sign requesting you don't treat it like a library hasn't made the move !
The ground floor is still military books and new titles. Upstairs is railways, maritime, trams, plastic kits and RTR railways. If you imagine a branch of Waterstones but every section is labeled "Railways" then you get the idea.

The extra space is wonderful. The shop looks modern and airy. There are no more poky corners. OK, so the customers are still the same but lets hope the slightly more prominent and pleasent location encourages more of them !

Ian Allan website

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