Our Bookshop’s History

From central France to central England…

Our festival bookshop has been lovingly converted from an original vintage 1966 Citroen H-Van that spent much of its life as a flatbed truck on a donkey farm in the centre of France, not far from Bourges. It was imported to England in 2017, prior to its conversion into the Festival Bookshop.

The transformation from rusting wreck to gleaming new bookshop took just under a year. Retaining the classic corrugated bodywork of these iconic vans, our bookshop was built from its original flatbed truck to a standard enclosed van, but with an extended wheelbase.

The Festival Bookshop still sports its original but refurbished 1.9litre engine and three-gears, plus left-hand drive position. With a top speed of 40mph (and that’s on a hill with a following wind!), the van retains almost all of its original features.

Built from the chassis up, the rear of the bookshop has been custom-built as a modern mobile bookshop with a lift-up side containing bookshelves to display books to event attendees. With LED lighting and full electrics, the van can display anywhere under its own steam.

With the bodywork’s construction completed in August 2018, and the van having passed its MOT and been declared roadworthy, the bookshop made the long drive from the bodyshop in Essex to its new home in Leicestershire, where sign-writing began. A local and talented sign-writer painstakingly hand-painted her beautiful graphics over the course of seven days.

Nicknamed ‘Le Bleu’, for her striking primary colour, the Festival Bookshop is the brainchild of Troubador Publishing. It brings a fun and quirky way of getting our fantastic books in front of a new reading audience. Now operating within the heart of England, taking indie published books out to fairs, festivals and markets, ‘Le Bleu’ raises a smile wherever she goes…

With all the best stories on board… Troubador’s Festival Bookshop is an eye-catching first for the indie book industry.