Thursday, February 24, 2011

Please Help

We absolutely love it here at the Big Green Bookshop. These have been the most rewarding 3 years of our working lives and we really don’t want it to end. The decision to open came about when the Waterstone’s we managed in the shopping centre nearby was suddenly closed with little warning. The public outcry at this decision made our minds up. After a lot of effort, a considerable amount of help from some amazing people, our redundancy money and a large loan from the bank for our stock and the building, we finally opened the Big Green Bookshop on March 8th 2008’

It’s just that we can’t really afford to have another nine months like the nine we just had, and despite all your amazing support we are struggling.

It was always our aim to try and be more than just a shop where you buy books, and since we opened we’ve tried to offer something for everyone:

  • Author events including Will Self, Mark Billingham, David Vann, Karen Maitland, Christopher Fowler, Laura Dockrill, Magnus Mills and even Maisy Mouse!
  • Musical evenings, film nights and historical walks
  • Well over 300 visits so far to the local schools in Haringey, Enfield and Barnet helping them to promote literacy with author visits, talks, storytelling and whatever else we can.
  • Monthly knitting groups, quizzes, writers groups and board games days (and we’re about to start a comedy night.)
  • Two book groups.
  • Weekly storytelling and singing for the under 5’s.
  • Supporting local talent by holding book launches, poetry readings and talks by the cream of North London’s literary stars.
  • Even a place to leave your shopping if it gets too heavy and to sit down with a free cup of tea or coffee.

The list could go on, but we hope you get the idea.

We sincerely hope that you want The Big Green Bookshop to remain here and value what we do and so we are asking for your help.

Our bank loan now has nine months to go until it’s paid off. This is our biggest single outgoing each month. Once the loan has been paid off we will be in a relatively stable position.

We want to address the short term issues and also the longer term ones, so;


As our last newsletter announced, we’d like to set up The Big Green Bookshop Committee which will support the bookshop, offering suggestions & ideas to improve what we do for our customers in the future. The first meeting is this Sunday February 27th at 11am. Please come along.


It’s the 3rd Anniversary of the Bookshop on March 8th. During the week 6th to 12th March we’re asking you all to buy just one extra book from the Big Green Bookshop. We have over 1,000 people on our loyalty card scheme & many of you who are reading this who aren’t. If each of you bought one extra book this would pretty much guarantee our survival.

For those of you who cannot make it into the bookshop, but want to help, we take orders over the phone or on our website, and we’ve also set up a ‘donate now’ button at the top of this page if you have all the books you need but would still like to help us out.

We have some of the greatest customers in the world and we are constantly humbled by the support you show us.

Thanks for reading this message.

Simon, Tim and Mark


Unknown said...

Big Green Books has earned the respect and patronage of so many. Vas and I will be there on Sunday to support you guys. You've worked too hard and created something too special for it to end. See you in a few days.

BramblyMouse said...

I'll be buying a book, 100%. Long live the greenest bookshop ever.

TFATDHQ said...

I'd be happy to play at the shop I'm local :)

Jenny said...

Great idea, we'll be popping in. I didn't know you held storytelling for under 5's. What day?

Anonymous said...

I'll be in tomorrow. Big Green Books cloing would be a huge loss

Lesley Cookman said...

I wish I lived closer, but I'll order through your website. My local indie closed nearly three years ago, a great loss.

Jayaly said...

I just ordered a couple of books from the personal recommended reads on your website.

I hope you hang on. My town doesn't have an indie bookshop, and it's a shame.

Rebecca Emin said...

I have only ever visited once, for D.J. Kirkby's book launch. I'd be really sad to see the shop having to close. I hope you get the support you need.

Vicky said...

I didn't know you existed until today when a friend posted the link to this blog on Facebook. I'll come in this weekend to buy my first book from you.

Sue Cook said...

Wish I lived nearer. Will buy from your website. Good luck : )

DOT said...

Being brutal, nonetheless a fan, you have to redefine your business model in the face of digitalisation.

I love paper as opposed to 01010101 but it is here. So what is your function? Social workers? Community builders? Educators? Retailers?

Obviously, the latter, though the others have a role. But only to support your job as a retailer.

Your predicament sadly is not unique but I think it possible to look again at what small retailers offer and how they can prosper by adopting and taking advantage of the digital age in new and novel ways.

My worry is you will be in the same position next year unless you radicaly change - given, fingers crossed, that you resolve present circumstances.

One of the problems of us book buyers is a certain inherent conservatism with a small 'c'. Fine for the book-buyers, less for the trade as we readers slowly curl up our pages and fox.

Your challenges are to respond to the changing market, not necessarily by looking to tried and tested methods, but by looking at the market, why and how it is changing and by examining what you might be able to do.

Have a word with Scott Pack.

Ellie Levenson said...

We'll be in on buy a book week to, um, buy a book. Great idea.

Ellie Levenson said...

Great idea. We'll be in on buy a book week to, um, buy a book. I really appreciated your support when my book was published and we've loved the two quizzes we came too. We just had a baby so we need to build up her library.

Laurel Swift said...

Wow! I never realised there was still a bookshop in Wood Green, now that Ottakers-become-Waterstones has gone. I also miss the lack of bookshop. Will definitely be popping in next time I'm there!


Simon Key said...

Hello all,
it's been an incredible 24 hours and i'm about to write a blog post about it, but thought i'd write here to say how grateful I am for this amazing response.
Carrozo, thanks, as ever for your shameless plugging of the bookshop. You are a star.
Bramblymouse, thanks. Come up to Wood Green soon.
Matt, let's do it. I'll tweet/email you soon.Thanks
Jenny, hello. Our storytelling and singing is on Friday morning at 11am (free tea, coffee and flapjacks).
Thanks anon, say hello when you come in. I shall be the one in the hat.
Leslie and Rosie, these kind of orders mean so much to us. I can't thank you enough.
Rebecca, we love doing book launches, especially for books like Denyse's. We're actually doing one tonight for a local poet. Hope you come and visit us again.
Sue Cook, thanks so much.
Dot. Thanks for all your comments, you're right on a lot of points. I have had many words with Scott.
Ellie, congratulations. I loved your book event. The shop was jammed and people walked out. It was fantastic! You're a great supporter of the shop and it's something we really appreciate.
Laurel, we're still here. Wood Green needs a bookshop and we have no intention of going anywhere.
You are all brilliant and please please please keep spreading the word that we are here.

alison summers said...

Um - could you ask people to pay for the coffee, tea and flapjacks or would that involve an extra licence and too much hassle?

Joyce B said...

I suggest people leave donations for beverages and comestibles, would that work?

Anonymous said...

I'd happily give back many of the books I've already bought from you, so that you could re-sell them. I've about 15 right here, right now.

If you've already decided not to include 2nd-hand books in your business strategy, would you consider a one-off weekend in the Spring? Perhaps use the side garden for display tables and use the blog and email list to get us to donate our books back to you for that one event.

Or, if you just want to sell them on to an established 2nd-hand dealer .....

kimber said...

I'm just too far away to come & hang out at your shop, but I would if I was there... good luck to you all. Indie book stores are the conduit of intelligent debate & independent thought!

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of you this week. Too far away to be of any use but still here (in Hull), watching and keeping my fingers crossed.

Have a massive week!

Diane (Hull)

Keren David said...

I'm local and I'll be in to buy a book or two..

Jen Pearson said...

Please let me know what i can do to help, my name is Jen Pearson and ive been working on a site and would love to help a small business out email me at unfortunately these are new times and while there is still a lot of benefits to paper, any emerging bookstore needs to look at all aspects of business in order to stay afloat, goood luck and hope you can find a way to keep the doors open


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