A BOOKWORM has turned his love of literature into one of Swindon's latest business start-ups.

But Alex Call’s new endeavour is a bookshop with a difference.

For starters, it only operates online. Second, it offers specially chosen book bundles – sent each month to its customers.

Alex, 31, spent a decade and a half working for WH Smiths. When he was made redundant, it gave him a chance to fulfil a long-held ambition to open an independent bookshop in his home town.

“There was a little shop on Wood Street that I thought would be perfect, but it was the wrong shape. Whilst I was looking into properties for a shop all these ideas came up. Always on the list was the idea of doing book bundles,” he said.

Each month on his online shop, Bert’s Books, Alex offers people two books from one of four themed bundles: crime and thriller, general fiction, “Bert’s best books” and “proud to be different”. Prices range from £15 to £25.

Alex said: “There are so many books published every month and so many of them go unseen. Some of those that do go unseen are brilliant books. I just want to get more of them into people’s hands.”

His proud to be different bundle will promote authors from traditionally under-represented communities, such as black, Asian and Middle Eastern or LGBT backgrounds. It will feature books like Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie, about a young Jamaican British woman living in London, which people might otherwise miss if they were browsing in their local high street bookshop.

Alex is passionate about the power of a reading: “A good book will help you escape reality and hold you in a way that no television show does.

“You’ve got to pay attention to a book. You can’t sit there and play Candy Crush while you’re reading. You can leave a book as a better person.”

But he’s also clear that books can help people find solace and hope. Struck by recent protests by Birmingham parents over LGBT rights lessons taught at their children’s schools, Alex created collection of seven books aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youngsters.

The £50 bundle, which includes Becky Albertalli’s novel Love, Simon, is intended to help young people and adults in their like that it was okay to be different.

“In the past I would have written a blog about it, but now I am in a small way in a position to influence the conversation and I think I should,” said Alex.

For more, visit: www.bertsbooks.co.uk