“American readers have saved my business!” says Nicky Dunne, 50, the chairman of Heywood Hill, the charmingly discreet bookshop that has been quietly thriving in London’s Mayfair for more than 80 years. Beyond an elegant storefront owned by Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire and the father-in-law to its canny chairman, is a sprawling subscription service delivering a curated selection of meticulously wrapped books to thousands of readers in more than 50 countries each month.

After in-depth consultations with customers regarding their taste and interests, a small team of booksellers personally chooses titles to be shipped around the world to them. “We take people’s curiosities seriously,” says Dunne. And with a team whose members each read on average 100 books a year, and a back catalogue that includes both new and antiquarian volumes, “they have access to this huge body of books at their fingertips.”