The Last Bookshop

Synopsis: Imagine a world without books... A young boy leaves behind his holographic entertainment and explores the abandoned old shop fronts outside. Down a forgotten alley he discovers the last ever bookshop. And inside, an ancient Shopkeeper, who has been waiting over 25 years for a customer... This 20 minute short film promotes the plight of independent bookshops through a fantastical fictional narrative. A timeless and atmospheric short tackling a pressing topical issue. Filmed on location in some Kent and London's beautiful, historic (and endangered) bookshops.
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Short
21 min


There have always been stories.

Ever since the earliest days.


I suppose

in the beginning,

rather than holographic

colour and noise,

stories were more like

dreams spoken aloud.

They were bison

on cave walls and

campfire myths

of how the world was born.

Those verbal stories:

that's where it must

all have begun.

They were magic!

They were alive!

But being alive,

they also had to die.

They vanished

with the breath of the storyteller.

To be reincarnated.

Evolving, mutating

with each re-telling.

Until eventually,

the original stories

were lost forever.











You're here at last!

It's alright.

Don't be frightened.

Is this

what you were after?

Go on!




Isn't it wonderful?

I started to worry

that you'd never come.

Every morning

I open the shop full of hope,

but in vain.

At closing time, I bring

all the books in from the empty street.

Take down the awning.

Telling myself:

maybe tomorrow.


tomorrow he'll arrive.








Yes. You, sir.

You are my first customer

in 25 years,

2 months

and 6 days.

That's what I've been

waiting for.



What's a customer?


It's like when you

buy things on a computer.

Only better!

You get to come here.

See the books.

Touch them, and smell them.




Old books. Nothing like it!

E Nesbit seems to have

the best bouquet, I think.

Though I found some

heady Bronts the other day,

in a box with

some old pipe tobacco.

You should catch

a whiff of it. [GRINS]

It'll knock your socks off!



Is this a story?


Oh yes, yes.


Well what else does it do?


Do? Do?

It's a book!

It paints pictures

in your head!

It gives you memories of things

you will never experience.

Look, the only way

you will ever find out,

is to explore for yourself.

Be my guest.

You can read

whatever you like!

Would you like that?


After much archaeology of my shelves,

he went home

with Kenneth Graham,

Richmal Crompton,

a Beano annual,

and a whole host

of treasures besides.

I almost

envied him,

discovering them

for the first time.

After 25 years

of waiting,

my books had a new reader

at last.

] In the old days,

did everyone used to read books?

] As a lad

we all queued up at midnight,

for a book

about a wizard.

It was the vogue.



I imagined him poring over every page.

Engrossed in the characters

and the illustrations.

Falling in love

with books.

Just as I had done

at his age.

I suppose

it was naive,

to have expected him

to come back

the very next day.

He'd never read

a single book before.

Let alone

a whole pile.

But as the days

turned into weeks,

I started to wonder

if I had simply dreamt him.

Was the boy

a phantom?


my fall into madness?

Would I soon

have a shop


with fictional customers!?


If I were to die,

what would happen

to my books?

Would I be found

rotting among them?

Or would

no-one come?

Would the walls


and the roof

cave in on me,

until the rain

dissolved each volume,

and my bones


in a sea

of papier-mch?

The meaning

washed away with ink.

The books growing back

into a forest.

The boy wasn't

coming back was he?

I was saving

the books for no-one.

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Richard Dadd

Richard Dadd (1 August 1817 – 7 January 1886) was an English painter of the Victorian era, noted for his depictions of fairies and other supernatural subjects, Orientalist scenes, and enigmatic genre scenes, rendered with obsessively minuscule detail. Most of the works for which he is best known were created while he was a patient in Bethlem and Broadmoor hospitals. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Last Bookshop" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 15 Jan. 2021. <>.

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