Mastodon The Writing Desk: A Special Guest Post by Heather Shanette: Introducing The Tudor Book Shop

14 October 2022

A Special Guest Post by Heather Shanette: Introducing The Tudor Book Shop

For as long as I can remember I have loved books. Books, to me, are like magic. They are a portal to another world, another time, another reality, and in the pages of old and ancient books we hear the voices of long dead people speak.
As a child, one of the highlights of my week was going to the local library to choose a new book to read, and, as an adult, a quiet, well-stocked library, full of new and well-worn books, is my favourite place in the world to be. I have spent years of my life reading and studying in the gorgeously gothic Welsh Library of the University of Wales in Bangor and I have often written there too.
Books are more than just words on paper and letters on leaves. They educate us and entertain us, advise us and guide us, thrill us and even terrify us, and in times of trial and sorrow they comfort us. Books have the power to change the world, and the world will always long for books.

But the way books are produced and presented is always changing. In the middle ages, before the invention of the printing press, books were handwritten, usually by monks in monasteries, and as a result were few in number and expensive to buy. After the printing press revolution of the fifteenth century, books could be produced more quickly, and therefore could be sold more cheaply, but they were still very much a wealthy person’s privilege.
It was not until the late nineteenth century, with the onset of mass education and the opening of public libraries, that books became accessible to everyone. As books multiplied in number, so did the number of shops selling them, and by the early twentieth century books were big business.
When I was growing up in the 1980s my home town had at least six book shops, some selling new books, some selling old, and some selling both. I spent a lot of time in these book shops, in one shop in particular, and I could tell you a story or two of spooky goings on in the room that was said to be haunted. The ghost may still be there but the book shop has long gone. It closed over a decade ago and most of the town’s other book shops are now history too.
The reason for this, of course, is the internet revolution. With the coming of the internet, and the launching of online book retailers like amazon, people no longer have to physically visit a shop to purchase a book. From the comfort of their own home they can order almost any book, new or old, and either have it delivered to their door in a day or two or digitally transferred to their e-reader in seconds.

For those of us who love visiting book shops and browsing the endless shelves, the closure of the brick and mortar book shops is a great loss. But, as one way of life ends, and another begins, ‘the revolution of the times’ brings opportunity as well as change. While the thought of digital books once filled me with horror – how could reading on a screen possibly be as intimate and delightful as reading a book and turning a page? - I have come to love my kindle. 

For a book lover like me, having dozens of books at my fingertips is a dream come true, and there is no denying that it is much easier to snuggle up in bed with a kindle than it is a huge bulky book or an old smelly one. Digital books are also cheaper, in general, can be more profitable for publishers and authors, and in this age of climate change help save a tree.
Yet, while I have been converted to the merits of digital, and find myself increasingly buying kindle books, a book still does not feel quite ‘real’ to me unless I can hold it in my hands. As more and more book shops close, and more and more people buy digital, I hope there will always be a place in the world for paper books so that future generations can know the joy of holding a book in their hands and turning a page.

For almost 25 years I have been the webmistress of, a website dedicated to the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603).

Since my early teens I have been fascinated by the Tudors and by Queen Elizabeth I in particular. I greatly admire her strength of character, her bravery, and her determination to succeed against the odds. Her successful reign made female sovereignty acceptable (her father’s drastic measures to sire a male heir perfectly illustrate just how undesirable it was) paving the way for Queen Victoria and our much loved late monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

For over 15 years I have also been the webmistress of, a small website I created to answer all the questions I was getting about who came before Queen Elizabeth and who reigned after her. On both websites I had shops offering books, dvds, cds and general merchandise for sale through amazon associates. The shops were initially very successful but over time they became outdated. 

I found it impossible to keep up with all the latest releases across so many different product types, across two different websites, and across two hundred years of history. I therefore made the decision three years ago to remove the old shops and gradually replace them with something else.

That ‘something else’ has become The Tudor Book Shop. This is a website dedicated only to Tudor history books and novels and can be found online at The idea for this website came to me during the pandemic. More than ever I was having to rely on the internet to research and buy books, but finding exactly what I wanted in various search portals was difficult and time consuming. 

So, rather than create new shops for my existing websites, the idea came to me to create a brand new website dedicated to Tudor history books and novels only. How much easier such a website would make my research life and I was sure that others would feel the same. I therefore registered the domain and over the next twelve months began to put the website together, designing the pages, the logo, and adding hundreds of books in my spare time.

For those unfamiliar with amazon associates, it is a program offered by amazon for website owners to monetize their websites by linking to amazon products. Every time someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the website owner receives a small commission (perhaps 1-3% of a sale) which is not paid by the customer but is taken out of amazon’s share of the profit. This commission raises much needed revenue for authors, artists, musicians, bloggers, and anyone else who needs to raise money in order to fund their work.

In this way, the internet giants like amazon, that have sadly contributed to the decline of the brick and mortar book shops that so many of us love, have given rise to a new way of helping the arts. By buying your Tudor history books and novels through, for example, you are helping me to keep on researching and writing full-time, and by buying books on other websites owned by individuals you are helping them to fund their artistic endeavours and their websites. Just keeping a website online takes money. 

Between them, my three websites cost £300 a year just to exist. So, the digital revolution of books and book sales is not all bad. There are still ways to help individuals raise funds and make a living rather than just the big companies.

The Tudor Book Shop makes it easy for you to find the Tudor history books and novels you love. Firstly, you can browse the ‘virtual bookshelves’ as all books are arranged by category and subject. For example, there is a ‘virtual bookshelf’ for King Henry VIII, for Anne Boleyn, and for Queen Elizabeth I. All you have to do is visit the homepage (, scroll to the category ‘Kings and Queens’ and click on the image of King Henry VIII. 

This will take you to the King Henry VIII ‘virual bookshelf’ where you can browse for titles of interest. Secondly, you can use the search tool (which is found on the right hand side of the page just under the main menu) to find books or subjects of interest. The search database is updated twice a week so new books added to the shop will typically show up within 2-3 days. Thirdly, you can browse by author in the ‘author a-z’ section.
The Tudor Book Shop also helps you keep up with all the latest book releases through The Latest Books Blog. This blog features a new book almost on a daily basis and provides the official amazon blurb as well
as a picture of the cover. New books are also regularly given a mention on Twitter and in The Tudor Book Shop’s Newsletter which anyone can subscribe to via the website.

The Tudor Book Shop also provides a platform for authors to engage with readers through The Quill Blog. Authors, whether traditionally or independently published, are invited to make guest posts on The Quill so they can introduce their newest book, discuss their most popular books, their inspiration for writing, or their work in general. I am delighted and honoured to have already featured an article from Tony Riches (thankyou, Tony!) and from Deb Hunter of All Things Tudor and will soon be posting up a contribution from historical fiction author Jonathan Posner.
My hope is that authors and readers alike will find a new home in and will help make it a success by suggesting books to include, by notifying me of upcoming releases, by spreading the word about the book shop on social media through liking, sharing and following, and by using the book shop to make online purchases.
The Tudor Book Shop may not be a brick and mortar store, but it is a book shop made with love, and it is book shop open to anyone, at any time, from anywhere in the world. I hope to see you there!

Heather Shanette 
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About the Author

Heather Shanette is an independent research historian, author and poet. She lives in North Wales, where she was born, and is descended from the humble Welsh quarrymen who helped found Bangor University, North Wales, from their little wages in the hope that their children, and their children’s children, would have access to learning. For many years she was a postgraduate researcher at Bangor University and has an M.Phil in Tudor history. She runs the websites and and is currently writing several history books including a book on Queen Elizabeth I’s Ladies-in-Waiting for Pen and Sword. The Tudor Book Shop can be found online at and on Twitter @tudorbookshop

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