What recession? New bookshop tells a different story

Opening a shop? In this market? Selling books for a minimum of £3,000?

That's just what Karl Fowler, the former Goldman Sachs banker and brains behind publisher Kraken Opus, is doing. The first Kraken Opus shop opened yesterday at 10-13 King Street, Covent Garden, to sell the 35kg, 50cm square books that are the most luxurious texts since monks stopped making illuminated manuscripts. Opus has books on Sir Bobby Charlton, Diego Maradona and Vivienne Westwood. They sell for between £3,000 and £20,000 depending on the signatures of the stars that are included, while a Manchester United book fetched $1.6m (£1m) at a recent auction in Dubai.

Mr Fowler, who plans to open another 12 shops from New York to Abu Dhabi, says that despite the economic downturn, demand for his books is huge. He will be inviting his celebrity subjects to the stores to take part in Q&A sessions for chosen guests.