Archive for July, 2009

The Tale of the Book Shop

July 29, 2009

I like book shops. I like big ones and little ones. I especially like little independent book shops run by people who have a passion for books. I like to see them make money so the book shop keeps open.

When we moved to this city last year I checked out the local book shop scene. In the shopping suburb not far from home I found one. It had a cute name. I went in to introduce myself, as the new local author, to the manager.

She was a bit quiet and did not enter into conversation easily. Not quite evasive, but not giving anything away. Perhaps wary. I had a copy of my first book and suggested that she sell it in her shop. She was not drawn easily into that idea.

“I’m selling the shop,” she said.
“I saw the notice on the window,” I replied. “Is it sold yet?”
‘No, but it might sell any time soon and I don’t want to take on too much new stuff just in case it does.”

We continued for a few minutes like that, but it was becoming clear that I was trying to push start a conversation that was not going to run of its own accord. So I said my farewell and left.

I went in again today. The shop has a new name. The cute name is gone and a person’s surname has taken up residence in its place. That is a real pity, I liked that previous name. The shop had been bought by another bookshop I recognised from the city centre. The same woman was behind the counter.

I asked her if she had received the promo mailing I sent about my book launch, she said “No.” Considering I’d made sure I sent it to this particular shop this was unexpected.

I asked when the shop had sold, thinking that the change of name had meant the mailing got lost in the postoffice. It was only six weeks ago, so the postman is unlikely to forget the previous name of the shop, and it had not been returned to me.

I pointed out that there was a book launch poster for another book/author on display. “So how do I make some arrangement for that kind of publicity?” She told me I had to see the new owners.

I asked if she was interested in setting up an author signing. She said I’d have to speak to somebody else about that, the people at the other shop. I pressed her a little further, trying to get some local arrangements made. She gave me a brochure with the email of the other shop on it.

Are you beginning to see a pattern emerging here, or is it just me?

“Tell you what,” I said. “I’ll give you the website of the book and you can chase it up. It’s got some pretty good reviews on there.” There was a yellow sticky-note block on the counter, so I took a note and wrote the website. Then I stuck that to the counter facing her. She took up the note and carefully stuck it back on the block as if it had not been removed.

Game over.

The upshot of all this is that I still like little independent book shops that are run by people who have a passion for books running in their bloodstream. It’s a pity there isn’t one close to home.

From This … To This

July 17, 2009

I’ve made a move recently.
From this –

S15

It’s a Nissan 200SX S15. It goes like it looks. Better than it looks after we did a bit of work underneath it.

To this –

Outback

It’s a Subaru Outback Wagon.

We’ve still got the Nissan. My wife drives it. I drive the wagon for work as I need to carry people and things now and then.

The difference? Well, the Nissan has several things that the Outback doesn’t.

1. Performance

2. Handling

3. Acceleration

4. Stability

5. Performance

6. Responsiveness

7. Braking

8. Turbocharger

9. Point and shoot steering

I could go on. For instance, did I mention performance? What about handling?

On the other hand, the Outback has a few things that the Nissan misses out on.

1. Cupholders. Three of them

2. Yeah, that’s about it, really.

My wife got a good deal out of all this.