Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brrr...

Cold, isn't it? our little heaters are struggling to heat the air around them, but there it is. Heat is a rich man's luxury in England at the moment, so short of making a tinder bundle from the excessive packaging from some of our distributors (yeah Bertrams, i'm looking at you) and starting a fire in the middle of the shop, or inviting Jeremy Clarkson to the shop to come and spout a load of hot air like he does, we'll just have to wrap up warm.
We're looking at non book products (bookshop speak) at the moment. Here's something that we're going to be stocking. They're lovely lovely bookmarks.
video
lovely lovely.

We're also trying to work out what cards and calendars to stock for chrimbo, and that's a strange thing. It's OUR money this year, so getting calendars with a bigger discout if they're firm sale (we can't return them if they don't sell), or playing safe but making less money is just one of the many many dilemmas we're facing.

What about cards. One idea is to offer a non-card service. The idea is that people give money to us to give to charity, and for that we send an e-card to someone (a xmas card sent via e-mail). The cost to the environment that sending a xmas card is huge and this is an interesting way of doing something about it. Working out the logistics for this is a bit fun, but hopefully we can sort it out in the next week or so. I suspect we'll also be selling cards too....

We've decided against a wrapping service. Eminem was double booked so this is out of the question now. pnew, pnew, pnew.

I've looked at mugs, glasses, umbrellas, pens, diaries, notebooks, skittles, lollipops and rock amongst other things and hopefully we'll get the mix right.

I've put a little wager on two footie matches tonight. West Ham to win at Old Trafford and there to be more than 4 goals in the Arsenal Spurs match. Mmmm

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back in the Swing

OK, i've been back a few days now, so it's time to write bookshop type stuff on here.
With 2 months to go before xmas, we thought it would be a good time to talk about how we were going to sell lots of books over the festive period. A new challenge for us is budgetting for something like this with our own cash. We decided way back that there was no point in ordering our xmas stock to come in during September (when all the 'big books' are published by the silly old publishers). The way it works is that what you get invoiced for one month you have to pay for by the end of the following month. So filling our shop in September with cookbooks and celebrity biographies would have been a real hit on the bank balance this month. So we're going to do our xmas order in a weeks time, at the beginning of November.
Anyway, the shop is far too busy at the moment with other stuff to be worrying about chrimbo. We've had our 4 busiest weeks since we opened in the last 5, and we're trying to put together a big events programme for the new year. We've got two events this week, which should be great.
Firstly Myra Schneider is returning to the shop to launch her latest collection of poetry on Thursday, which is promising to be a full house.
And on Friday we're pleased to be launching a cracking new thriller from √Čanna Cullen called The Dark Pupils. If you're around and fancy either of these, please come along.
It's half term this week, which means it'll probably be a bit quieter than usual, but in a way, that'll give us a chance to catch up on a few things. Tim's going to be making 4 tables on Tuesday. He's bought a large sheet of MDF or something similar, and has produced an excel spreadsheet showing where he needs to cut the wood. It's all colour coordinated and if I had the skill i'd show you a picture of it. He's quite handy.
I'll be finishing off the new flyer design, which we intend to deliver to 10,000 homes in the next fortnight, just to remind people about us again.

Today was our kids reading group and we discussed Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver. It got an excellent response, and I enjoyed it too (although I thoought the ending with the bear could have gone on a little bit longer). I'll be reading part 2 soon.
We chose Tom Fletcher and the Angel of Death by Sarah Matthias as next month's book, which i'm really pleased about, as I tried to persuade them to choose this a couple of months ago (democracy eh?). I failed to persuade them to choose the Book Thief this month, so hopefully we'll choose that next January.

There's a ton of returns that we want to do in the next 3 weeks to clear some space for xmas, and also to free up some extra moolah, and we're trying to work out if we can use Batch Returns to return books that we recieved before we went onto Batch (if anyone out there knows the answer that'd be a help). Sorry for that boring industry-speak. Back to reality.

I'm going to be getting in touch with our website designer this week, to see if we can get something together before xmas. It seems a shame that we have this little blog, but our website is only a homepage at the moment. It's entirely our fault, so we'd better shake a leg.

We're also looking at stuff to sell that isn't books. We have cards and bookmarks in the shop, but we think we can make a few quid on other stuff aswell. If anyone has any suggestions, they'd be very welcome.

And finally, I predict Spurs will win for the first time this season against Bolton this afternoon. Always end on a joke.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back at Work

We had a lovely break in Dartmouth, and so to get things out of the way, here are some choice photos of our trip.

Baby, Babycarrier and bad hair.

A reproduction of the Whicker Man at Babacombe model village (something for the kiddies).

. Stonehenge (£6.50 each to get in!)

Stonehenge at Babacombe model village.

Cheesy, british holidaymaker type photo.

Right, that's that then.

Things about the shop tomorrow...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Derren Brown

I suddenly realised that this was an ideal opportunity to find out if something odd was going on, so here we go.

About 4-5 years ago, when I worked in Walterstone's in the Oxford Street branch near Tottenham Court Road, there was a number of people in a short space of time who came into the shop to ask if we stocked a copy of the new book by Derren Brown. We looked on the computer and found that there wasn't anything available except some really expensive books on mind suggestion and close up magic that cost about £50. The customers were absolutely sure they'd seen something about the book on a poster or in a newspaper recently but couldn't remember the name of the book. Nothing unusual about this, but the strange thing is that every one of the customers who came in were so so sure they'd seen an advert about this book, they simply couldn't understand why we couldn't find it on the computer. We said that perhaps they mistook the new DVD for a book, but they were insistant that the book existed and were quite upset that we couldn't find it.
Katie and I have talked about this a few times and laughingly suggested that maybe these people had been hypnotised into thinking that the book existed.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to find out if this was just a massive coincidence, or if as suspected, I'm a massive tool.

Do any of you booksellers out there who read this nonsense remember a similar situation. Yes I know that Derren has brought a book out since then, but this was about 5 years ago.

Maybe if it was Derren instead of Gordon in charge, he could tell us all it was OK and everything would be fine. Maybe if Charlie was in charge it might be better still.
I'm on a little holiday to Dartmouth, but if this rings any bells with you, spread the word, and we'll get to the bottom of this mystery.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Aaaaahhhh Briscoe!

Constance Briscoe came to see us last night.
She wrote a book called Ugly, about her awful childhood and the way she was abused by her Mum. She's sold 1.2 million copies of the book. She then wrote a book called Beyond Ugly about stuff after the stuff in her first book. That was the book that we were selling last night.
The shop was full and Constance was marvellous. She's now a judge and a very sucessful person. To a lot of the audience she's an inspiration, and she didn't let them down. She was funny, articulate, confident and she knows exactly what she's doing.
There's been some bother about the publication of the book, what with her mother taking her to court and all that, and Constance made it clear that the audience could ask her absolutely anything... they did.
There was a heated discussion about why she wouldn't forgive her mother which was looking quite interesting until 'in the Bible it says...' was introduced. It's always tricky when that happens, but Constance showed her barrister-like credentials and the fans of Briscoe weren't let down.
We sold some copies, despite WHSmith having been selling them for £2.99 (when you buy any magazine or periodical. Not in conjunction with any other offer. Terms and conditions apply. Offer not available in all stores, for full terms and conditions please check our website), and it was a good fun night.

Fridays are 'my work at home' day. Tim and I have 2 days each in the week where we can be away from the shop (if nothing else is happening, which is hardly ever). One of these we can deem as a day off, and one of these is a day when we can get on with all the things that it's easier to do away from the shop, like marketing, accounts or visiting schools (or sleeping). Today Freya and I put together an article for a student magazine and also we had a piece to do for a book that's coming out next year.
As you can see by the photo Freya's not very happy about what i've just written, but it all ended up OK.

We're off to Dartmouth next Tuesday for a lovely short break. If anyone cares...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tomorrow

we've got Constance Briscoe joining us for an evening of misery memoir magic. It's all quite exciting, as we'd sorted out a signing with her at the Wartystones in Wood Green just before they closed last year , so it's lovely that she's coming to join us in our little shop. We've been oversubscribed with punters determined to share the sadness and meet the queen of the tragedy, so I think it'll be standing room only again.
Thanks Constance.

we've got some tasty events over the next couple of months, of which one or two are a bit hush hush at the moment, but i can announce this one....

Thursday 13th November 6.30pm So, last month we hosted an evening with the wonderful Bill Drummond, and this month sees another legend perform at the Big Green Bookshop.

John Sinclair, performance poet, jazz aficionado, former manager of the MC5, Oh yes indeed.....you want more?

co founder of the White Panther Party and the man John Lennon wrote a song about, will be appearing to celebrate the launch of two books both published by HeadPress.
Firstly John will be performing and talking about ‘It’s All Good; the John Sinclair reader', not published until April next year (!) ,but exclusively available on the night. We will also be celebrating the launch of ‘HeadPress 28, The Gospel According to Unpopular Culture’, which is edited by Mr Sinclair, and marks the 40th anniversary of the original White Panther movement. Both books will be available on the night.
You'd better get there early, that's all i'm saying....

Haruki, we're still waiting for any kind of reply. I reckon we could squeeze you in next Feb/March. What do you reckon?
x

Friday, October 03, 2008

You've Got To Admire Their Sauce

Last night we hosted an event that will live long in my memory.

My very good friend Mark Farley suggested to me some time ago that we may like to host an evening of erotic stories and performance to coincide with the publication of Ultimate Burlesque. Not only is this a marvellous collection of short saucy stories (published by Xcite press), but also 15% of the cover price goes to the charity Burlesque Against Breast Cancer. I said yes, as you can imagine I would.

So last night, with the shop shutters down and an expectant audience, the Big Green Bookshop got filthy.

Mark was the compere for the evening, and introduced us to our first act. You could hear a pin drop as Carmen Ali walked out from behind the curtains (our kids section had been turned into a changing room for the evening. Sorry Maisy, sorry Spot).
She read from her short story about domination of her boyfriend, and we also learnt what figging was. Maybe that's why Geri Halliwell was called ginger spice. As if her story wasn't enough, she then turned into the wonderful Aurelia Dare to perform a wonderful tassel spinning burlesque act, for which this is a safe for work picture. Our sofa will never be the same again.
After the cheers and things had begun to die down we heard a shout from the crowd
'Are all book readings like this?'
No they aren't. Good old us.

Mark then read us his story from the point of view of a 19th century american lesbian.. I have to say that from my point of view, it's a strange experience listening to your friend read an erotic story, but it seemed to go down very well.

Then it was the turn of the birthday girl Sarah Berry to read her story for the first time. A virgin you could say. Until you heard her that is...
Her story involved two strings of pearls, of which only one was worn around the neck. It was performed marvellously and brought a huge round of applause from appreciative crowd.

Richar Bardsley then read a story of the sexual delights of tazering. Yes, tazering. It was shocking....

Then it was the turn of Maxim Jakubowski to read his science fiction/erotic story based on time travel, burlesque and the rotten core of today's sex industry.
It was dark, seedy and very very well written. Maxim is a bit of a legend in the world of books. He opened the Murder One bookshop in Charing Cross Road in 1988, and it continues to thrive and survive when other bookshops...um...don't. He's also a lovely chap.

Finally it was the turn of (birthday girl) Sister Berry Rogers to remind us of the evils of onanism.
We sang along as she reminded us how sacred and great our sperm was, and finished off (it's very difficult writing this without feeling like a Carry On film) by getting out of the habit.

Whoops and cheers followed, and the night came to a wonderful climax. The audience was spent, and purchased their copies of Ultimate Burlesque, which the performers happily signed.
It was a really fun night, and everyone had a great time (I think). We want to say thanks to everybody who made the night so memorable.

Same time next week then Mark?