Monday, 10 March 2008

Big Green Bookshop Opens!

Had a lovely time on Saturday when the Other Half and I took a little jaunt (OK, two hours on the motorway) to Wood Green for the opening of Simon Key and Tim West’s Big Green Bookshop. If you nip over to their blog you can see lots of photos of the day, including one of me, looking pleased and proud, holding a copy of Testament.
As well as meeting Tim for the first time (I’d already met Simon and his other half, Katie, when they came to Testament’s launch) it was great to meet Mark Farley who blogs amusingly and informatively as The Bookseller to the Stars.

I can’t quite believe that Simon and Tim have managed to turn an internet cafĂ© into a bookshop in a little over a fortnight using very little but volunteer labour, total enthusiasm and (as far as I can tell from their blog) regular infusions of cake and chocolate. And a bookshop it is, with red-shelved children’s area, settee and wonderful picture windows which let in loads of light. Though not on Wood Green High Street, it’s visible from the High Street which I think is just as good.

I’d never really stopped to consider how much of an art stocking a smallish bookshop must be. When you have limited space, how do you decide which writers to stock and how many of their titles? In terms of household names, Tim and Simon seem mostly to have gone down the ‘most recent paperback plus one from backlist’ route; or ‘most famous plus one other’. For authors who are less well-known there may be just one book, but then - in that – they are no different from much bigger bookshops. They promise to order things in quickly and, given their general efficiency in working to the 8th March opening date, I believe them! Their confined space and customer base means that their policy on hardback fiction is ‘only if signed’ so I was immensely honoured to have Testament on the shelves. Simon had some very nice things to say about it on the blog, which I blush to quote here, you’ll just have to go and read the post. Go on, here it is

Inevitably, like any visit to a bookshop, we bought lots of books (even a Maisy book for a recently-arrived little person, born to some good friends of ours last weekend) and I’m already well into Mil Millington’s Love and Other Near-Death Experiences. It’s a very funny book and it’s cheering me up no end at the back end of a long winter. I shall tell you all about it in a couple of days.
Tomorrow, I must tell you about today’s Radio recordings…

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