Sunday, July 29, 2007

View from Bath

I've been meaning to blog all week...
Mix together laziness, procrastination and generally having little or no spare time to do all the things I'm meant to be doing - and that it took me two days to remember how to log in - has meant that I've left this till the last possible minute. And I also don't think that I've got anything interesting to say...
It's just over four months ago that I left Pan to work at the Topping Bookshop in Bath. The shop opened just over three months ago. It has been incredibly hard work, and I think that we still have quite a way to go. But yesterday felt like a turning poing : we were busy, we had nice customers and I felt - for the first time - that everything was sort of coming together. We had books that customers wanted; the customers themselves were all really nice. I suppose I had that rare feeling of happiness.
This is not to say that things are perfect. Far from it. But it doesn't feel like the uphill struggle that it did four months ago. This may be connected to the fact that I also no longer have an hour's walk uphill at the end of the day (having moved to five minutes away from the shop).
My colleagues - Kathleen, Vincent, Mark, Robert, Robert & Louise are also nice people to work with. I suppose that's true of most booksellers anyway. We're all vaguely like-minded souls who aren't exactly doing this for the wealth of Midas.
And it's exciting to be at the start of something. Sebastian Faulks did the first reading here, and in a way opened the shop. And we have a great line-up of authors for the autumn, including:
Alan Bennett
Ian Botham
Jonathan Coe
Sophie Dahl
Germaine Greer
Robert Harris
Terry Pratchett
Ian Rankin
And that's just for the Bath bookshop. The Ely bookshop has Robert MacFarlane, Alexander McCall Smith, Paul Merton...
To see the whole list, have a gander at our website :
Until next time...
Saber

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing line up. Why do we not have one of these bookshops in London?

Anonymous said...

'cause there's bugger all to do in Bath at night and just too damn much in London.

Anonymous said...

You've been advertising another bookshop now for two weeks. You should either post something new or close the blog down.

julian said...

I just did a really long and well considered reply to that last comment (well- quite long and quite considerd) and it doesn't seem to have posted- that was fun!
I'm just testing here

julian said...

why did that one work???

julian said...

ok-
re last anonymous comment- good point, well made.
I've been back from holiday for over a week but still bearing the scars of the Harry Potter day disaster and have not wanted to go near a blog or e-mail for a while.
but as the song says, pick yourself up etc etc. and the harry Potter night was good and the rest of the weekend sales were cool so it wasn't all bad.

And Sabers blog (thank you) when not sounding world weary does sound like an advert for a really good shop but it is difficult to do and sustain that kind of event list in london- competition for evening entertainment is intense.
In the shop I was in at Manchester people had to pay to be on our mailing list (we called it a literary club but it was a mailing list) i can't see any london shop succeeding in that- even pre internet days.

Take our last event here- (still a sore point, see above!) it had a really good line up of authors for the day and was marketed reasonably well and I know it rained, a lot, I know tube stations were closed and I know it was a crappy weekend to try and do something like that as loads of people go away that weekend but taking everything into account i still think we should have got around 30/40 people and we were miles away from that figure.

the most important thing, in the end, is maybe to make sure everyone who works at the shop is behind the event and really sells it to the people who come to the store and i think we failed a bit there
but never give up- I've got an idea for our next event and if it comes off it should be pretty popular