Nottingham bookshop one of only four Worldwide chosen for Monocle magazine celebration

Nottingham-based independent magazine shop, Ideas on Paper, has been chosen as one of only four bookshops around the world to be featured in global magazine, Monocle, in celebration of the magazine’s 10th birthday and reaching 100 issues.

With only four bookshops in the world being chosen to feature, this is a huge accolade for Ideas on Paper and Nottingham’s independent retail scene.

banner ad

Monocle describes itself as a briefing on global affairs, business, culture and design and was launched by Tyler Brûlé, founder of Wallpaper magazine, 10 years ago – in response to the fact that people had to buy separate magazines for business news, fashion news, cultural news etc – Monocle brings it all together.

Monocle chose the four bookshops because they’ve all helped Monocle on their 10-year journey – and they’ll all be featured in Monocle’s 101 issue due out on 23 February.

Ideas on Paper was launched in 2014 by Alex Smith, who grew up in Nottingham and returned to the city after spells working in London – in fashion and retail.

He explained:

“It was Monocle that inspired me to launch Ideas on Paper – so things have really come full circle! I was listening to one of the magazine’s podcasts on Radio Monocle and they were talking about all the independent magazines being created and produced. I realised there was nowhere to buy these kinds of magazines on the high street, so I thought why not open a shop to do just that!

“In 2013, I entered a competition Nottingham City Council was running at the time called Inspiring Retail and got through to the finals. I didn’t win but the experience gave me the confidence to launch Ideas on Paper.”

Alex continued:

“Ideas on Paper brings together everything I love, including books, magazines, stationery, print and talking to people! I don’t think there’s another magazine shop in the UK like it, partly because I’ve used my fashion background to design the shop and present my stock in a unique, striking way, and partly because I’m here to champion independent publishing and magazine production, as well as print. On a personal note, I also wanted to give something back to the city that I grew up in, and with all the creativity going on here, Nottingham is definitely the right place for Ideas on Paper.”

The circus is underway in West Bridgford!

Alex also helped to launch Nottingham’s RAW print – a collective that celebrates the exciting and dynamic nature of magazine making, through a series of talks, presentations and debates. Alex has brought many influential speakers to Nottingham to talk at RAW print including Rob Orchard from Delayed Gratification and Sean Dagan Wood from Positive News.

The magazine is a champion of many things characterised by Ideas on Paper and encouraged by Nottingham’s Creative Quarter – including independent retail, artisan production and urbanism.

Kathy McArdle, CEO at The Creative Quarter said:

“We’re over the moon for Ideas on Paper – it’s such a well-deserved accolade. The shop is one of the businesses that helped found the Creative Quarter and it typifies what Nottingham is all about – pioneering creativity and innovation. Ideas on Paper may be tucked away in Cobden Chambers but it’s got a huge global following on social media like Instagram. Being chosen as one of only four businesses in the world to be recognised by Monocle underlines just how influential it is – Nottingham should be incredibly proud of Ideas on Paper and Alex Smith.”

Alex concludes:

“Hopefully this will show that Nottingham’s literary heritage, illustrated by our status as a UNESCO City of Literature, isn’t just about traditional or highbrow literature, it’s about the amazing content being produced by a new generation of independent magazine editors, contributors and creatives.”

Travel plans offered to 5,000 West Bridgford residents

Alex also hopes that Ideas on Paper’s global recognition will help to encourage local customers to visit his shop:

“I’ve got a loyal following in Nottingham, particularly among those who work in the city’s creative industries and students. Now, it would be great to reach more people, from avid readers, to those who don’t normally read books but love great content and beautiful design, art and photography. There truly is something for everyone here so why not pop in to Ideas on Paper next time you’re in town?”

Ideas on Paper is at 4 Cobden Chambers, Pelham Street, Nottingham, NG1 2ED (you’ll find the alleyway next to NKD Waxing and just opposite Wired coffee shop.

You can follow Ideas on Paper on Twitter and Instagram @ideas_on_paper or visit

The shop sells a range of magazines, books and stationery – including Monocle of course (the 101 issue featuring Ideas on Paper will be available in the shop from 23 February).

Interestingly, unlike many global magazines, Monocle only produces a single version for the whole world, rather than producing different magazines for different countries, underlining the fact that its internationally-minded audience shares many of the same outlooks and views, whether they’re in Tokyo, New York, Berlin or Nottingham.