Heron and Willow is a family run bookshop in the beautiful town of Jedburgh in The Scottish Borders. We opened in April 2023.
Our curated selection of books and gifts aims to offer something unique. We’re particularly passionate about Scotland, as well as having a dedicated children’s section. Kids are very welcome! We also want Heron & Willow to be a place where creativity takes place, through workshops, projects and free activities.
How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
In Jedburgh there is a river with Herons on it. We used to live in a city and seeing a Heron on a river was a big deal, but to find they just live here a stones throw from our house was amazing. They sometimes sit under a Willow tree and our daughter’s middle name is Willow, so it all came together…
Who are you? Owns the bookshop?
We’re a family business, but it is mainly me (Dean) who runs things day to day. We’re not big at all! But we are in the centre of Jedburgh in a great location in The Scottish Borders.
Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?
I think I almost love bookshops more than books. I think they are special places, despite (or perhaps because) each one is different. We opened in April 2023 and this is our first experience of running a bookshop, or any kind of shop. But I think books and stories are really important in lots of ways. I wanted to find something to do in my community that felt useful and worthwhile, and being a bookshop was the thing.
How do you choose the books you stock?
I’m learning the seasonality of the book trade, and that’s especially relevant where we are, as tourism is big in the summer. But essentially, it’s things that I think sound interesting and that would turn my eye if I saw them in a bookshop. In that respect, I think it helps I’ve been a bookshop customer for so many years. That definitely helps with non-fiction and we’ve had lovely feedback on our variety, despite being small. For fiction, I search out less obvious titles and usually just have one copy of everything, turning things over quickly. And I also stock vinyl which has proved to be very popular. New records sit well alongside books – with my background in music it was pretty much the only part of the shop I had confidence in to start with, but the rest is coming on now!
What’s the best thing about being a bookseller?
There are two best things; the first is when a delivery arrives! I usually half forget what I ordered so it’s a fresh joy to unpack the boxes and get them out on the shelves. The other is simply when people come in the shop. Because we aren’t huge I can say hello to everyone as they arrive and I like to hear where they’ve come from if on their travels, or get to know the locals better. I like it best when young children are in, drawing on our play table or discovering the reading nook.