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Confessions of a Bookseller Kindle Edition
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|Length: 282 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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From the Publisher
CONFESSIONS OF BOOKSELLER and SEVEN KINDS OF PEOPLE YOU FIND IN BOOKSHOPS
A very funny life with books.
“Bythell’s wicked pen and keen eye for the absurd recall what comic Ricky Gervais might say if he ran a bookshop.”—Wall Street Journal
“Warm, witty and laugh-out-loud funny...”—Daily Mail
“Bythell is a skillful writer . . . he creates a full, appealing world populated with colorful characters . . . an endearing and thoughtful book.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“…amusing and often cantankerous stories [that] bibliophiles will delight in, and occasionally wince at...”—Publishers Weekly
“Bythell writes with biting humor . . . he is a man on a mission, and year seen through his eyes convinces the reader that is a mission worthy of undertaking.”—Chicago Tribune
“Virtuosic venting…misanthropy is tempered with bursts of sweetness in the secondhand bookseller’s latest dispatches from Wigtown, Scotland.”—The Guardian
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Cold, grey day. Nicky appeared at 9.08 a.m., blaming the weather for her late arrival. The rain came on again at 10 a.m. and the sound of water dripping into buckets in the shop window began its usual symphony.
As I was filling the log basket, I heard a frog croak in the pond―the first one I’ve heard since last autumn.
On the way to the post office, I spotted Eric, the Wigtown Buddhist, in his orange robes―a welcome splash of colour on an otherwise grey day. I’m not sure when he moved here, but Wigtown has absorbed him with the amiable indifference it shows to everyone, no matter how incongruous they may appear in a small rural Scottish town.
Nicky spent the day re-arranging things that didn’t need to be re-arranged.
After lunch I took down the Christmas decorations from the window displays. The left-hand window was still full of little puddles in places.
Avoid social interaction:
always carry a book.
"A full, appealing world populated with colorful characters. The Scottish landscape...is gorgeous."-- "Minneapolis Star Tribune"
"A heartwarming love letter to books and bookshops, by an amenable fellow turned antisocial old misanthrope...Brilliant."-- "The Guardian (London)"
"Among the most irascible and amusing bookseller memoirs I've ever read."-- "New York Times"
"An enveloping account from the front lines of an industry in flux."-- "Foreword"
"Bythell nurtures his curmudgeonly image and pens droll summaries of daily annoyances...Short of a flight to Scotland, Confessions of a Bookseller is the quickest escape to a seaside village where books reign."-- "Shelf Awareness (starred review)"
"Bythell writes with biting humor...He is a man on a mission, and a year seen through his eyes convinces the reader that it is a mission worthy of undertaking."-- "Chicago Tribune"
"The author entertains readers with eccentric character portraits and stories of his life in the book trade...Irascibly droll and sometimes elegiac, this is an engaging account of bookstore life...bighearted, sobering, and humane."-- "Kirkus Reviews" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- File size : 3073 KB
- Publication date : April 7, 2020
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 282 pages
- Publisher : David R. Godine, Publisher (April 7, 2020)
- ASIN : B08528D5B6
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #161,678 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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One interesting topic is the impact of the internet on store sales. Most of the sales, especially for larger prices, are a result of listings on Amazon or ABE (also owned by Amazon). Amazon also will store part of the books in its own warehouse, and send them out as Fulfillment by Amazon when orders are received. But for a small business, the prices for these services are high, but I doubt the bookstore could survive without them. Less desirable volumes are dumped on Ebay. Another fascinating topic I found is going out and looking at collections of books offered for sale by the locals to reinforce the store's inventory. You never know if the whole day is shot for nothing, or a gold nugget book will pop up. Visitors to the store usually don't buy anything; misfile books they look at; leave piles of books all over the store; or are insistent that they are entitled to a discount from the marked prices--with no explanation offered. As over here, some customers have the irritating habit of looking at a book and then buying it online.
But running the store is only part of the story here. The author exposes us to the warm lifestyles of his fellow town residents. There always seems to be some festival, or talent show , fishing expedition, dance or other social events which lead to frequent interaction amongst the happy residents. Imagine, a whole town of HAPPY well adjusted people. There are no pictures, unlike the previous volume, but I found that the author (a former documentary film maker) has a great video on YOU TUBE which provides a beautiful intro to the Wigtown area. One aspect I find particularly fascinating is the Open Book, a store which a visitor can reserve to run for a week or more. This really appeals to me so that I might just take the flight to Scotland from Washington, D.C. and try it. Because running a small book store in rural Scotland can't be that complicated, right?
1. Be sure to gloss over, by devoting only a small amount of time, focusing on any people or situations you may actually enjoy, like evenings with friends or fishing in beautiful surroundings. Instead spend the majority of your time whining about everything you find irritating such as people who want to negotiate lower prices, the evils of large online booksellers, low margins, or employees that do the opposite of what you ask of them.
2. If your industry has changed and is now primarily conducted online and using shipping services, make sure that you learn as little as possible about the technology you employ. This will ensure that several days will go by on a regular basis with the site not working and what little money you might have made gone like the wind.
3. Never notice anyone dressed appropriately or conducting themselves well. Instead be sure to make note of every socks with sandals type you run across. If done correctly this will give the impression that your small world is dominated by people with poor taste. If done with very little humor, this can make you even more dull than this review already suggests.
4. Ensure that no matter how tedious or dull you may find your day to day existence, you are too cranky or curmudgeonly to put any effort or energy into reinventing yourself and working at something you might actually enjoy.
Although it was an excellent book for learning how not to live, I don’t recommend it to anyone currently in quarantine as its pessimistic tone is not likely to improve your outlook under a period of duress. PS I hope the guy who wrote the book is a perfectly nice guy who isn’t as pessimistic as he made himself for this book.
Top reviews from other countries
Interesting fact: this book is almost identical to "The Diary of a Bookseller". Seriously, it is uncanny. The rhythm of days, rainy weather, book festival, out-of-date eclairs from a nearby supermarket. But, thanks to the presence of one Italian madam (or should I say signorina), I can assure you this is NOT a carbon copy of the Bythell's debut.
In any case, the book is a true page-turner, sweet, curious and, occasionally, funny. Explain this to me! I guess for the lover of books (and observer of people), you cannot really write a better book. Can you?
I loved "The Diary of a Bookseller" so much that at the end of 2018 I bought myself a membership in the Random Book Club. Sadly, I did not read any of the books sent to me because all of them were quite peculiar in nature. I cancelled my subscription. Sorry, Shaun.
But these books, both the "Diary..." and the "Confessions" are amazing! Thoroughly recommend for a long week on quarantine.
And to sum up with a great quote from one of the characters: “A tidy house is a sign of a dull woman.” True that.
And if you like the book - take the time to visit Wigtown, this bookshop and all the others! It's a great place and a great part of the world to visit for a while.
One entry on August 13th: "Finished 'Lucky Jim.' Flo in today, so I hid, and then went to have my hair cut."
That's on page 202. A bad idea to just print his diary.
Some of the comments about customers, and about people who want to sell him books are definitely interesting. There should have been more of that, instead of just printing his diary for one year, with all of the uninteresting day to day routines in the shop, that are definitely not “confessions,”
I might read his first book - some say that that book was more interesting than this one.