Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the rest is silence?

As I'm not really one for writing I've done one piece to stand as handout,blog or poster- this is what we are handing out in the store...

“A beautiful little bookshop’

The Pan Bookshop – A Personal Note of Thanks from the Staff

You may have heard the sad news that The Pan Bookshop is to shut up shop at the end of January. The shop will be a great loss to many – not least to our customers for whom Pan had become part of their lives, authors local, national and international, the publishing and media worlds who have supported us and of course the staff who are now thinking ‘what next’.

We wanted to thank everyone who has supported the shop. We will all miss you all and the books, the reps, the building (well, not the staffroom or toilet- have you seen them!!), the coming in everyday to work at a place you enjoy being in and know is appreciated. At 5 years I’m still a newcomer to the store and I wish I’d been here for some of it’s earlier, rich, history such as readings
from Raymond Carver, Philip Roth delivering his manuscript upstairs or the time when, allegedly, a former manager spread-eagled herself across the door and refused to let anyone leave until they’d purchased something- now that’s bookselling!

There are three questions that I have been asked a lot over the last few days and wanted to provide an answer to. Can it be saved? What are we (the staff) going to do? And, what can our customers do?

I’m afraid that, as it is, The Pan Bookshop cannot be saved. Our overheads really are very, very large and decisions have been made which I do not think will be reversed.

Just two days after our news, however, we learnt Waterstone’s Old Brompton Road would also be closing. A double blow to many customers who used both shops but also, perhaps, the creation of a new opportunity.
The departure of two shops within about a quarter of mile of each other does open up opportunities and some of us have begun to look for possible sites and benefactors.

If you would like to write something about us. We would be pleased to hear your comments, reactions, memories, etc. It makes us feel better, part of a community and I hope it helps the person leaving the comment to express their feelings.
It would also serve to underline the very real community backing that this store does have, something that may be useful to us in the future.

We will put all of these messages onto our blog, the address is . If people prefer to send to our e-mail the address for that is or please feel free to write a message, memory etc. onto this piece of paper, hand it back to us, and we will copy it onto our blog.
But the blog is not just to look back – we’ve also had some interesting suggestions as to ‘what next’. If you are interested in keeping an independent retail presence in the area and have specific suggestions or ideas about potential shop sites that may be available please feel free to let us know. The phone number is 0207 373 4997 and speak to me, Julian

Finally, to everyone who has ever supported us as a customer or author or who has worked here- in the words of an immortal Pan author from the, sadly, not to be immortal Pan Bookshop.
‘So long, and thanks for all the fish.’

I've got to fill up the space somehow

double oops.
I really should have written something here beforehand about our news, it's just that as it's probably one of the least viewed blogs in the western world (my fault, I don't keep it up to date enough and can't write for toffees) there seemed other, more important, things to do.

Anyway- I'm now in the situation where any posting will come up next to the previous post titled 'Congratulations' which I feel is just wrong hence me burbling away and wasting some space.

whistle, tap toe, time passing, I know- I always meant to write about the London Book Fair-
now our previous boss, Richard Charkin was something of an anti Bookfair person as he often mentioned in his blog from various parts of the globe. Maybe it was because Richard was (is) the head of a big publisher and saw a very global picture whereby even The London Bookfair could be viewed as parochial.
As a London bookseller I loved it, for the last 3 years I've gone to the Independent Publishers Group stand where they organised 'speed dating' meetings between booksellers and small publishers, publishers whose books are normally shown by reps who carry multiple lists and with the best will in the world can not do justice to everything they carry. Here at the IPG meetings a publisher had 10 minutes to tell a bookseller about books they really loved.
It was at one of these meetings where I met Emma and Snowbooks and was the first person to give her an order (I was very enthusiastic about her Virginia Woolf and Jerome K Jerome reprints- which we did very well with but it took our, then, fiction expert Glen to spot that the real gem was Robert Finn's 'Adept' which we sold loads of). The next year I met Mark Crick and, I think, his mum with his brilliant Kafka's Soup which I was also the first person to give an order for and was so enthusiastic we managed to get the launch party for the shop and over 100 sales later this was obviously a morning well spent. This year I met Gallic Press, a new venture specializing in translating French historical crime novels- we put both their debut titles into our window and did very well. I also met Kenilworth Press and realised we should have been working together for years and their window was very successful too. And it wasn't just the little guys like me that pitched up for these meetings, this year I met Kes, one of the main Amazon buyers, there- ok not so good for the booksellers but good news for the small publishers.
I know I would have found out about all of these books anyway but I think it's a good thing that small publishers have a chance to meet booksellers and think that, maybe, large publishers might try it too.

anyway- I think I've filled that space up now.