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.
In 2015 and 2016, a strange fever overtook the UK public. Vital everyday activities such as sleeping, cooking and re-tweeting were usurped by a new phenomenon: Adult Colouring.
Perfectly sane individuals found themselves reaching for the crayons, and spending huge amounts of time hunched over increasingly intricate patterns, themes, motifs and the occasional fractal.
One of the perks of running a bookshop is that you often receive ‘proof’ copies of books, those being, for the uninitiated, uncorrected draft versions of forthcoming publications. If you’ve ever read a book and thought:
What this really needs is a few spelling mistakes, some confusing typos, a front cover entirely comprised of writing and absolutely no re-sell value
then proof copies are definitely for you.