illustration of bookshop

About House of Books & Friends

About House of Books & Friends

Thank you for stopping by and finding out more about us, where we came from and what we do. We’re a little bit different to your average bookshop. We have many strings to our bow! If you have any questions or would like to get involved please get in touch here.

Our Story.

The idea for House of Books & Friends was born during the pandemic in 2021.  Gunnercooke llp founder and chair of the gunnercooke foundation, Darryl Cooke, recognised the impact that lockdown was having on those around him and in wider society.

Reports showed that coming out of the pandemic, 45% of people in the UK experienced loneliness. This equates to 25 million people, with 5% experiencing severe loneliness. 

Lockdown highlighted how loneliness can affect anyone of any age. Loneliness can be caused by many things; the loss of someone close to us, moving to a new area, a change in circumstances or simply a loss of confidence.

Darryl wanted to create something unique to help combat this somewhat silent problem. A problem that robs so many of joy and contentment. He could think of nothing better than the power of reading to help connect people and combat loneliness. From this, House of Books & Friends was born.

A bookshop’s role.

We believe bookshops can play a powerful role in combatting loneliness through their power of connection. Reading, discussing books, buying books, listening to authors and writing can connect us physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.  When we read, we are not alone.

House of Books & Friends doesn’t stop there however. Whilst you can enjoy the community of our lovely bookshop and cafe, every penny spent also goes forward to support projects and not for profit partners, directly addressing social isolation and loneliness.

Whether you seek comfort and company and want to forge relationships and attend events. Or whether you want to support the cause and social well-being by spending your money with us there are many ways you can get involved.

The start up of House of Books & Friends was funded by gunnercooke llp and is also supported by the gunnercooke foundation, having strong links with the third sector in Greater Manchester. The ethos behind the gunnercooke foundation is to ‘Do Good, Faster’, and by supporting and linking House of Books & Friends with charity partners we are able to help each other deliver on this aim.

Visit our Mission pages to find out more.


Logos that state we are a Real Living Wage Employer, a member of the Booksellers Association, and we have taken the sustainable bookselling pledge

Meet the Team Members

Cartoon version of Laura Jones

Laura Jones

Project Director

Laura heads up the gunnercooke foundation, working on philanthropic initiatives with a great number of charities and more recently bringing House of Books & Friends to life. Laura loves to read with her children and can proudly recite The Gruffalo from memory. When she gets a chance to read for herself she loves to dive into entrepreneur biographies or psychological fiction books.

Cartoon image of naomi self

Naomi Self

Bookshop Manager

Naomi has been clocking up years behind bookshop counters since 2009. She loves to read crime novels and anything historical (fact or fiction!) Her favourite author is Jean Rhys, followed closely by Martin Cruz Smith. She thinks the next best thing to reading books is talking about them, so expect to find her in the shop recommending books left, right and centre. When not reading, Naomi runs (slowly), sews and walks her little dog, Gilou.


What is a Community Interest Company?

A Community Interest Company or CIC is a type of organisation which exists primarily to benefit a community or with a view to fulfilling a social purpose, rather than making a profit for shareholders. A CIC is not a charity, we generate profits or surpluses which we can then use to fund projects creating social good. This means that the more books we sell, the more projects we can fund and the more people we can help out of loneliness.

Why Set Up A Bookshop?

We believe that bookshops are important spaces for creating a sense of community. So many independent bookshops have been lost from the high street and we feel that this has contributed to the decline of community and leading people to feel lonely and isolated.

Books can be a source of comfort for those struggling to find their place in our post-pandemic society. House of Books & Friends is designed specifically to feel warm, welcoming and friendly. Our staff are not only knowledgeable in terms of books and will gladly talk all day about authors and their latest finds but they recognise they are at the heart of our community too. The interior of the bookshop while feeling like a lovely place to go and read a book, will also feel inviting and hopefully make you feel like you don’t want to leave!

Through the bookshop we believe creating membership clubs, book clubs and a whole range of events as well as working with charity partners and experts within the loneliness sector that we can really get to the root of loneliness and make a real impact on individual’s lives.

Can I Donate My Books To You?

Thankyou so much for thinking of us for your book donations however, we will be selling only brand new books, the latest to be launched and special editions.

We can however point you in the direction of Awesome Books  who redistribute good quality second hand books to charities and organisations who can make best use of them.

I’d Like To Hold An Event In The Bookshop?

We’re an amazing place to hold your next event!

Whether it is a small intimate birthday, a meeting or workshop right through to a larger scale corporate events, we work with you and your budget to ensure a quirky setting, fantastic food and drink and a totally individual event. Please visit our Hire the Shop page for more information.