Derek Dawkes - proprietor of Westcountry Books

Derek began his bookselling career in the 1960s. His careers advisor at school asked him what hobbies he enjoyed, to which he replied ‘reading’ . It was that simple – he started work at W H Smiths, Ilfracombe, on leaving school.

Local Books

He worked at Teignmouth, went into Cornwall as a Relief manager, and at Paignton, where he was the manager for five years.

Two authors he met were Henry Williamson, at Ilfracombe, of Tarka the Otter fame, and R F Delderfield, known for, among other novels, A Horseman Riding By, and To Serve Them All My Days at Exeter.

But Derek, born in Lynton in North Devon, loved the west country, and had no desire to move away, so he eventually left W H Smiths and opened his own business - newsagent/stationer/bookseller.

He began to study with the Open University. He eventually sold the business and undertook a Degree course at Bath University. On graduating he entered mental health care, working in both acute psychiatric wards and the community.

On retirement he returned to bookselling at the outdoor market in Newton Abbot. As he got older he found the physical demands of moving the stock more and more demanding.

. He retired again.

Two years later, he’s back, and selling books. Cosy little shop. Focussed range of books, re-engaging with many of his former customers and greeting new ones.

Buy online at
Abe Books