Another important countercultural business was Arcturus Books. This was originally set up in April 1976 by Bob Jelfs. Bob had moved down to Torquay with the intention of being a musician. When this didn’t work out he decided to pursue one of his other interests, and open a bookshop which focused on alternative religion and alternative culture. Inspired by Watkins and Compendium in London, and Cosmic Books in Torquay, Jelfs originally planned to have his shop in the nearby fishing port of Brixham but was gazumped on a property there. There was therefore a significant element of chance that led him to take premises at 55 Fore Street Totnes. Arcturus sold a range of countercultural books and periodicals including Undercurrents, Resurgence, The Ecologist as well as Sherrack. Indeed, Sherrack introduced a Top 10 Arcturus Books, in a slight parody of a feature that had been introduced in the weekly Totnes Times newspaper. The first top 10 reproduced in Box 1 gives a flavour of the types of books which were popular at Arcturus at that time. In this way Arcturus played an important role in sustaining the circulation of alternative ideas around Totnes and beyond. Douglas Cockbain, the current owner, bought Arcturus in June 1987 and it moved to its current premises in 1990 and now attracts people from across the South West and beyond.
The image to the right gives an idea of the type of books that were popular in Arcturus in 1976.