House of Books & Friends, a bookshop and cafe that’s making a difference (@Books_n_friends)

It’s a while since I’ve been into Manchester shopping, but on my next visit I’ll certainly be visiting House of Books & Friends, a bookshop where “every book sold makes a difference”. The purpose led independent bookshop, event space & café, opened in December 2022 stocking new books for adults and children. In addition it has an important mission – to  combat loneliness through bringing people together, to build and rebuild communities. What’s not to like?

The bookshop is the brainchild of Darryl Cooke, founder and chair of the gunnercooke foundation. He recognised during the pandemic that lockdown highlighted the issue of loneliness and wanted to create a space to combat, what for many, can be a silent problem. Reports showed that coming out of the pandemic 45% of people in the UK experienced loneliness, a condition which can affect anyone, at any age, for a variety of reasons. He also recognised the power of reading in helping to connect people and combat loneliness, and so House of Books & Friends was born with a very clear mission.

We believe that bookshops are important spaces for creating a sense of community. Loneliness can affect anyone of any age. It can come about for lots of different reasons; the loss of a close one, moving to a new area, children moving away, a loss of confidence, the loss of a job etc.

Our mission is to combat loneliness and social isolation. We want every customer or visitor to leave our shop feeling better connected with the community. By reinvesting every penny of profit in to House of Books & Friends, “Every book sold makes a difference”.

House of Books & Friends ensure that 100% of profits are put back into projects which directly address social isolation and loneliness. By working with not for profit partners we can reach out and really assist people experiencing loneliness.

© House of Books & Friends

Recognising the power of books is something that we as readers can appreciate. As bloggers we are constantly discussing books, talking about authors, sharing our favourite reads (& listens) and obviously buying books (in my case too many!). The love of books is something that binds and connects us. We all appreciate that as readers/bloggers we are now part of a bookish community, and whilst most of us met online or in real life as strangers, we made friendships through our shared passions and perhaps, even differences. Through blogging I have certainly made friendships and connections that helped me through my own dark times, even before the pandemic. As a result I can appreciate the ethos of making that happen in a real life, relaxed setting. To be honest, put me in a bookshop or a cafe and I can happily witter about anything to anybody who’s willing to chat. Just as well that House of Books & Friends is now a certified Chatty Cafe.

© House of Books & Friends

On Saturdays in our bookshop, keep your eye out for a table marked with the ‘Chatter and Natter’ sign. This table will be available for any customers who are happy to chat with others, helping to kickstart conversations and brighten the day of those who might be experiencing loneliness.

But even without the social contact, just reading a book has it’s benefits. The Reading Agency found that ‘reading books has been found to significantly reduce feelings of loneliness for people aged 18 to 64.’ We all know ourselves that reading is an excellent form of escapism and distraction. We’ve been happily losing ourselves in books for as long as we can remember.

House of Books & Friends is putting together a programme of events which will incorporate regular features such as children’s storytimes and an online bookclub as well as one off specials. Here’s an idea of what to expect:

  • Meet the author
  • Book clubs
  • Music
  • Networking
  • Readings
  • Creative writing
  • Storytime
  • Signings
  • Talks with charity partners

You can find House of Books & Friends at 81 King Street, Manchester – a beautiful Grade II listed building that used to be The Reform Club. If you can’t visit or just prefer buying online, you can still be a part of and support what they do as they sell online via

You can make friends with House of Books & Friends via :


  1. I’ve seen this around social media and and an online newspaper, it sounds brilliant. I live about 10 miles from central Manchester yet haven’t been since around 2019. When I do get around to going I’ll be sure to go and have a look.

    Liked by 1 person

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