THIS may be an increasingly digital age, but a huge passion for books has led to ‘one of the country’s smallest bookshops’ going from strength to strength in Saltburn over the last three years.

Jenna Warren opened the Book Corner in May 2014, with the shop quickly becoming a favourite stop-off for the local community and tourists alike. We spoke to Jenna about her passion for books, and the creative community spirit she says helps the town stand out from the crowd.

What inspired you to open the shop?

“Saltburn’s an amazing place. I’ve lived here most of my life, and found it surprising that we had no independent bookshop selling new books. I was looking to create a positive career for myself, something I loved doing day-to-day. And, although I had no prior experience as a bookseller, I did have other retail experience and, very importantly, a huge love of books. I opened a tiny unit on Station Square in May 2014. It was so tiny that Jen Campbell, one of my first visiting authors, said she thought it might be the smallest bookshop in Europe!

“I had the opportunity to move into my current slightly larger shop on Milton Street, and I opened up here in March earlier this year. Mind you, it’s easily still one of the smallest bookshops in the country, and probably one of only a handful with a sea view looking straight through the front door. I love it here.”

Community obviously plays a big part in the day-to-day life of the shop?

“Saltburn has a real sense of community – a fantastic place to be - and I now have a loyal core of good local customers as well as visitors from further afield. I obviously love it here, and I try to contribute to the town’s community as much as I can – by donating books as raffle prizes, sponsoring a planter or hanging basket for Saltburn in Bloom, contributing to the town’s Christmas Lights each year, and selling tickets for local concerts. I also embrace Saltburn Food Festival, which is an amazing day and attracts a huge number of visitors to the town. This year I put together a food-themed bookstall, and I also enjoy meeting people who browse the rest of the town after visiting our monthly Farmers’ Market.”

Being a small independent bookshop, how else do you stand out?

“Well, we can obviously order any book currently in print for anyone who wants to spend their money locally rather than be swallowed up by multi-nationals somewhere or other. But the shop is small enough for me to enjoy carefully selecting my range of books. My focus is on carefully selected novels, non-fiction and children’s books. Nature writing is particularly popular – especially given that we’re based right on the coast and have the beautiful North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales on our doorsteps. Some of my bestsellers this year have been How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel, and the ever-popular British Library Crime Classics series. There’s also quite a vibrant local poetry and live literature scene, so I have a busy poetry section too.”

Are local writers given pride of place on your shelves?

“Rather than tuck them away on a shelf called ‘local,’ I include local and self-published writers in my main fiction section. I think this gives everyone a fair chance when placed alongside more established writers and household names. I’ve also found it helps to keep all my fiction in one section, as I like the idea a customer might discover something new they otherwise may not have tried if it had been displayed under sci-fi or some other category.”

You also have a busy events diary and run a Book Club?

“I regularly host book signings with local (and not so local) authors, and readings from local poets – and they’re always great fun and really enjoyable days. This summer I hosted my first book launches, including one by Carmen Marcus, a Saltburn-based novelist and performance poet who had her debut novel How Saints Die published to critical acclaim. We also have our Book Corner book group, which has grown steadily over the last few years. We take turns to choose the book, which has led to plenty of variety in our reading material, and plenty of new friends being made along the way.”

And there’s plenty for families to enjoy?

“I have a dedicated children’s section with colourful cushions, so children can sit and read, and an activity table where I keep colouring and activity sheets. I’ve also recently started holding occasional children’s storytime sessions. The bookshop is also dog-friendly, perfect for people out walking along the coast or on the moors.”

What would be your five Desert Island Books?

Ouch! That’s a tricky question to ask a bookseller, but here goes…

The Humans, by Matt Haig: A beautiful book. I love Matt Haig's writing style, the way he's both very humorous and very poignant. The story is also lovely, with the main character (an alien) learning to empathise with the humans around him.

The Understudy, by David Nicholls: I've read this several times and I find it hilarious. The main character is a struggling actor who has to understudy a completely insufferable star in a West End play. This has all of David Nicholl's trademark humour and spot-on characterisation.

Jonathan Unleashed, by Meg Rosoff: This is the story of a young man, fresh out of university, who doesn't really know what he wants to do with his life. I think Rosoff manages to really capture what can be a confusing time for many people. It feels like it's going to be a fairly typical romantic comedy, but then she sends it off in some very original directions.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon: This is one of the first novels that really inspired me as a writer. The story is structured in a way which absolutely reflects how the main character sees the world. I love how he uses drawings and diagrams as well as text. I've never read another novel quite like it, before or since.

A Robot in the Garden, by Deborah Install: A man finds a broken robot in his garden, and goes on a round-the-world road trip in order to find its owner, so it can be mended. But Tang - the robot - has a personality and mind of his own, and the trip is fraught with chaos. It's a lovely story about friendship and responsibility, and I laughed my head off.

“Can I also take The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux too?”

Book Corner: 24 Milton Street, Saltburn. 01287-348010.

• Book Corner Website: