The outstanding Word on the Water floating bookshop on Paddington basin is under threat, and needs YOUR love, London.
The business, run by Oxford English grad and all-round good egg Paddy Screech (and his two partners) has been moored opposite the entrance to the tube for nine months now, and has built up a huge cult following, with fans including author Ben Okri and comedian Stewart Lee. With the local area under development, and ripe for alternative occupancy, their future now floats in the balance.
‘Charity shops get donated too many books’ says Paddy, describing his business model. ‘They don’t want to throw any away, so as a compromise recycling companies pay them 6p a book and take them away to pulp them. Word on the Water go one better, offer the charity several times this amount per book, then sell them on to a willing audience of London book fans.’ In other words, charities benefit and Londoners get to enjoy a beautiful outlet curated by true experts.
I hung out on the barge (which doubles as his home) the other night. Three people returned books they’d previously bought so others could enjoy them, and Paddy was ever on-hand making wise recommendations to punters eager to expand their literary horizons. ‘When we started out three years ago we just wanted to find a way to conduct commerce cleanly. We think we’ve found it, and we’d really love to keep going.’
By Andy Hill
To help this West London gem stay on the water join his Facebook page and show some love at facebook.com/wordonthewater.