The Bookshop: history and developments

Malvern’s unique Book Cooperative celebrates 11 years

17 April 2023

It’s been eleven years since the people of Malvern rose to the challenge of losing the town’s previous independent bookshop. The Malvern Book Cooperative was set up by local residents who loved books and reading. Members chipped in to create one of the eight Book Co-operatives around the UK. Since then the shop has gone from strength to strength, offering a wide range of classics, bestsellers, modern literature, and children’s books. It’s now a thriving bookshop much loved by the local community.

Where is the Malvern Book Cooperative?

The bookshop sits in the heart of Great Malvern, in a historic building in St Ann’s Road. It’s well-placed  to serve book lovers and browsers shopping in town, and to attract walkers and visitors coming down off the Hills. It sells a wide and eclectic range of new books, as well as book-related gifts and cards. You can also find the bookshop online at, or phone the friendly knowledgeable staff on 01684 564788.

What’s special about MBC?

MBC is an integral part of the Malvern community, owned andcontrolled by its members. That includes the staff, customers and members — they all have a say in how the bookshop is run. Being a co-operative means that profits are ploughed back into the business, and into the local community through the MBC’s Outreach Literacy Project. Staff are paid the Living Wage, and the Book Coop is very active in working with local schools and events.

Highlights of the past year include:

  • Official bookseller at the first-ever Malvern Festival of Stories in October 2022, when eight authors gave talks and workshops. MBC supported with the sales of 200 books.
  • Staging author events by big names like Michael Rosen, Robin Ince and Matthew Engel.
  • Most recently supporting the Malvern Festival of Ideas, with a pop-up bookstore that sold in excess of 400 books over the weekend;
  • Hosting local author events, including Sally Trepte (author of a book about Warwick House) and novelist Victoria Walker (author of Snug in Iceland and The Island in Bramble Bay).

Malvern readers expect to find the best books in MBC, both of local interest and wider, including the complete Booker shortlist. The outright bestseller in recent months has been Martin Hutchison’s account of how Malvern became a key player in WW2: Top Secret — Boffins Come to Malvern. 148 copies and counting have been sold.

If a desired book isn’t on the shelves, MBC offers a free rapid ordering service, usually delivering within 24 hours. For readers who want a book out of hours, or need home delivery, the shop also has an online shopfront on A loyalty card scheme for returning book lovers is available, too.

What’s the future for MBC?

The post-pandemic growth of the book market, both generally and here in Malvern with the imminent arrival of Rossiter’s across the road, will help to boost Malvern as a destination for literature-lovers, and benefit all the booksellers in the town. New ventures being planned for MBC include the return of the much-loved coffee and cake corner.

With the ongoing support of members, book lovers and local businesses and events organisers, the Malvern Book Cooperative is looking forward with confidence to continuing to bring the magic of books to Malvern. 

[MBC shopfront, St Ann’s Road. Image: MBC]

[Children’s author Michael Rosen in MBC; image MBC]