Paramount Books, First Point of Call for Fiction.
In an age of retail giants, both on-line and on the High Street monopolising the bookstore market, many shoppers are missing out on the charm of an independent seller.
Certainly, there is little more convenient than clicking to buy, whether it’s for imminent delivery or download, but what the more modern varieties of book buying don’t provide is the dreamy experience of perusing the shelves of a book lovers business. I firmly believe that independent bookstores can provide just that – an experience, not just a checkout and one filled with charm and a passion for literature across each shelf, each book a portal into an imaginary realm. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I am over-romanticising the task of purchasing books, but my standards have been set high after visiting Paramount Books in Manchester. This in my opinion is one of the greatest ways to buy books in the City Centre, and that’s not merely because it is one of Manchester’s few vestigial independent bookstores.
City Centres aren’t are more than High Street Staples.
Paramount is located in Manchester’s Shude Hill area, next to the Printworks and a stone’s throw away from Market Street and Piccadilly Gardens. You can hear the in-store classical music being played as you walk by, and the tender compositions of Chopin are undeniably irresistible as a book-buying siren call. Yet Paramount doesn’t just sell Romantic classics. In fact, the book collection is like no other you’d see in the City Centre, and contains rarities you’d likely have to discover at a specialist bookstore miles away.
The thoughtfully appointed books are the product of its charismatic owner named Paul – you’ll have to see for yourself, and range from genres including crime noir, cult fiction to science fiction to queer literature. Simply, if you’re looking to broaden your literary horizons and investigate fiction that falls outside of the bestseller charts then this is your place. Paramount books is saturated with hidden gems and books that will be more enriching then a regretted impulse buy when waiting for a train. The store also specialises in vintage and second-hand books, so if you’re after a bespoke leather hand copy of one of your favourites, you may just be in luck at Paramount.
Yet it’s not just books that you’ll find in Paramount. The store also has comics, periodicals, magazines and graphic novels by the crate load. You’ll discover nostalgic classics from the 50s and 60s, whether you’re a comic book connoisseur or simply a lover of something that’s both artful and a touchstone for recent popular culture history.
Paramount doesn’t solely cater for the literature lover however, and the store has shelves of CDs and Vinyls that too are sure to yield a buried treasure or two. The music is largely from the 60s to the 90s.
With an in store piano, an inviting atmosphere and an Aladdin’s Cave of fiction, Paramount is undoubtedly an individual and inspirational place. I recommend a visit, and am sure you’ll uncover your own reasons for retuning when you do. It must be noted however, that Paramount is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, during typical working hours. Visiting the bookstore will always be one of my favourite things to do in Manchester.