Joe and Ben- who solely comprise the team- seem to have filled a cosy niche, providing a visceral experience where publications such as the ones they stock- limited independent photography, art, lifestyle and illustration zines/magazines- are usually only available through the rather impersonal services of the internet. Ben also cites the continual growth and evolution of Leeds’ own scene of self-publication, and general arty enthusiasm for much of their own evolution; ‘It was a sort of build it and they will come mentality’.
Village’s stock is on constant rotation, because of the limited runs of the work, conveniently keeping their offerings interesting. They don’t pay much attention to editions, which tends to create a sense of exclusivity around the publications, something Village wants to avoid. They still have their old favourites of course, playing kind of residents in the shop but all the stock is chosen because of the personal interest Joe and Ben take in it. ‘We wouldn’t want to condescend the work by just having anything and everything in the shop just because it’s independently made. There has to be a kind of curation process behind our choices’. Village also regularly collaborates with artists, photographers and publications to host various exhibitions at the bookstore, exhibiting local work but also branching out into the wider community.
‘Although obviously great, the Leeds art scene can sometimes be too inwardly focused’. Village works on building relationships with people outside of the city, bringing work to Leeds and also making their mark internationally. Honing their intuition in art publications and interest in photography, Village is branching outside their four walls and foraying into their own publication. Following the development of their own zine with Christopher Nunn, Joe and Ben are working closely with photographer Paul Phung to capture a more substantial focus on Ukraine, developing their own kind of brand identity in the process.
Village stocks a variety of publications from pocket sized DIY zines to hefty yet beautifully crafted coffee table books. This selection also spans cult publications such as Cereal, The Gourmand, Intern, Gentlewoman, Kinfolk and Printed Pages, all currently featuring as part of an exhibition at Village, where the latest issue can always be picked up. Village also stocks a lovely range of stationery by Paperways and Livework; old school lined and gridded notebooks in a dreamy palate and pens that put the Bic to shame.
You can also stop for a cup of coffee that Village brews in house- trained by Layne’s don’t you know- slowing down to a pace of browsing that the books deserve and encouraging you to see the space as a place to hang out. Village is certainly a place where it’s ok to judge a book by its cover.