December is a crucial make-or-break month for many retailers, and bookshops are no exception.
For the bookshop owner, expectation levels go through the roof in the run-up to Christmas, and this is accompanied by a constant insatiable hunger for sales, sales and more sales.
Back in July I wrote a blogpost about the new Philip Pullman book La Belle Sauvage, my main gripe being that Independent Bookshops such as my own were being completely priced out of selling any copies, due to the aggressive pre-publication discounting of larger retailers with deep pockets.
Books Are My Bag is a national campaign run by The Booksellers Association to promote bookshops in the UK.
It is centred around three main events:
- Bookshop Day 2017 (Sat 7th Oct)
- Saturday Sanctuary (Nov 25th) and
BAMB is now in its fifth year, and any campaign that celebrates the value and vital role of physical bookshops in this online age must surely be a good thing.
Many booksellers received an e-mail recently from a Public Relations company on behalf of The Booksellers Association:
The Guardian is writing a feature on the most stolen books from bookshops and they’d love to hear any anecdotes you have about books getting stolen for a light-hearted feature to run this Saturday.
Oh would they indeed?
20 Tips from a Bookseller:
You’ve written a book.
Congratulations, I mean it, and that’s coming from someone who:
- is completely incapable of writing a book and
- counts eating a whole tube of Pringles in one sitting as a typical life achievement.
The Devaluing of Books.
Part One of Philip Pullman’s Book of Dust Trilogy (La Belle Sauvage) arrives in October.
Set ten years before the events of the His Dark Materials trilogy, this is one of the most eagerly awaited books of this year (if not the last 20 odd years) in the book trade.
Next time you are in a big bookshop, look down towards your feet, and there you might see it: a mysterious set of two parallel lines carved into the carpet, snaking its way across the shop floor.
When you work in a bookshop, new titles arrive all the time: any day of the week, any time of the month.
It’s like Christmas every day (but without the gin-soaked afternoon nap and second-degree oven burns.)
When you run an Indie bookshop, the occasional compliment from a customer should really be reward enough. Only the other day in fact, a young lady came in and proclaimed:
Wow. This shop is so random.
This of course is youth-speak for “delightfully well-stocked.”
When you work in a bookshop, you can usually tell when a fellow bookseller comes in. They’ll be the ones subtly straightening all your book displays and re-imposing alphabetical order on the poetry section.
If they work for a bookshop chain, you may hear them utter the words “staff discount” at some point to their friend, before walking out empty-handed.