Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well even after a bustling December and some beautiful (but havoc-causing) snow in these last few days it's hard to believe that Christmas and New Year are actually almost upon us! Despite the best efforts of the wintry weather all our customer orders did make it here in time, and apart from a slight blip mid December when a delivery of book tokens went AWOL for a few days, the Christmas shopping season went pretty well overall! Hurrah!

And now it's our turn to get out and about and enjoy the festive season, so we're closing the shop for a few days whilst we catch up with family and friends, scoff some mince pies and of course, curl up with a few good books! As from tomorrow (Christmas Day) we close up until 9.30am on Monday January 4th when we'll be back refreshed and recharged and ready for another year. As usual, our opening hours in January will be Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm.

So now all that's left to say for 2009 is that we wish all our customers, friends, neighbours, blog readers and lurkers near and far a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! We hope you stay nice and warm in the chilly weather, and that Santa brings you some great new reads!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

'Homecoming' to Christmas...

Well it's been a busy few weeks here at Inkspot & Silverleaf! The end of November saw the Christmas lights switched on in town and we had a great Saturday afternoon with loads of kids in the shop looking for a picture of Scrooge for the Treasure Hunt. Even the miserable rain towards the end of the day did nothing to dampen our spirits and the twinkly lights certainly brighten up these dark winter evenings.

Also a few weekends ago we set up stall at a local school's Christmas Fair and had a blast meeting loads of new folks, getting festive (and trying in vain to avoid the yummy looking chocolate fountain!) And on top of all that the book 'Old Bo'ness' is flying out the door at the moment thanks in part to a wee mention in the Bo'ness Journal. We've had to reorder several times but don't panic, there are still plenty left for those of you looking for great Christmas present ideas. Whew!

But there's more. We'd also created a lovely 'local' themed window in celebration of the Homecoming Fireworks that took place at the foreshore on 29th November. We'd gathered together a whole heap of Bo'ness and Scottish books to highlight - old favourites as well as some great new books such as Neil Oliver's History of Scotland, and Bannockburn 1314 by Chris Brown, new out in paperback.

...And then this week we've changed the theme window again because Christmas has finally arrived at Inkspot & Silverleaf! And just in time for last weekends' visit from the Aviemore reindeer and another brilliant treasure hunt! Shh... If you listen closely you can almost hear the jingle bells!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Slab Boys...

If you're looking for a break from all the Christmas hoopla, why not get your tickets for the Barony Players' production of The Slab Boys by John Byrne. The play runs from December 1st - 5th at the Barony Theatre  in Borrowstoun Road and tickets (priced at £8 regular / £6 concessions) can be purchased by calling 01506 829197. The play is set in Glasgow in the winter of 1957... and if that gets you in the mood to reminisce about Glasgow gone by, why not pop in to the shop to find out a bit more with books such as Our GlasgowThe Real Gorbals Story, or No Mean Glasgow...   they'd make excellent Christmas presents!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Old Bo'ness...

Oh how we love a good local history book! It's great to look back and remember what life was like in years gone by, and in Bo'ness we're lucky we've been able to do that with quite a few books on the town, it's people and it's history. Unfortunately over the years, many of those great books have gone out of print, so it's with great pleasure that we're able to let you know that hot on the heels of 'Wha's Like Us' (available again for Christmas this year), a new Bo'ness local history book has just been published! 'Old Bo'ness' by Alex F. Young has just hit the shelves this week and provides a fascinating insight into the history of the town. Jam-packed with photographs, the book touches on everything from the boats in the harbour to the buildings in town, from schools and shops to football teams and Fair Queens. If you are a local history buff or a Bo'nessian at home or abroad it's definitely one for your shelves!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wha's Like Us?

Hurrah! We now have copies of Peter Aitken's book 'Wha's Like Us' in stock at Inkspot & Silverleaf - you might have seen a note of it in the Bo'ness Journal a few weeks back! We're so pleased we've had the chance to get these final copies of the book into the shop (we've been asking around about it from opening day). The book was originally published in 2002 and features a whole host of Bo'ness' weel-kent faces, and tells of their achievements throughout Scotland and the world. There are only a limited number of copies still available and once they're gone, they're gone (we've already sold quite a few!) so make sure you pop in to get yours before we run out! The book is priced at £10.00 and every penny goes to the Bo'ness Children's Fair fund... sales from the book over the years have so far accounted for a staggering amount! So help make next year's Fair go with a swing and get your copy of the book today... 'Here's tae us!'

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Past Papers...

Eek! Exam time rolls around once more and the frantic revision begins. To help keep households that little bit calmer in times of exam stress, we're stocking past papers again this year. We have a selection at all levels on various subjects, and if you don't see the one you're looking for then just ask us and we'll order it for you (with most orders arriving in just a day or two). Don't leave it till the last minute!

Friday, 6 November 2009

New stuff...

A few weeks ago I told you about some of the great new products we had in stock... well, the good news doesn't stop there! We've brought in even more now, so here's a run down of the great new things you can pick up on your next visit!

Bookmarks from Jane Bristow

First, we have some wonderful handcrafted beaded bookmarks now in stock from local artist and crafter Jane Bristow. These bookmarks are all individually made by Jane and would make beautiful Christmas stocking fillers (even just as a wee treat for yourself!) What's more, each one comes in a little presentation bag ready for giving! Lovely!

Poetry books and cards from Walter Simms

We now have in stock a small collection of poetry booklets from local poet Walter Simms. His series of 4 illustrated booklets are available now, with a select few poetry cards arriving in the next few weeks. Walter's first and fourth booklets 'Innocence and Suspicion', and 'Merry-Go-Round' collect his poetry 'born from the hopes, fears, heartaches, joys and trials of life', whilst the second and third booklets, 'Interrupted Flights' and 'Fences' are single poems, beautifully illustrated with images taken by the poet himself.

Cath Kidston Stationery

Iconic designer Cath Kidston produces some wonderful fabrics, clothes and accessories and we are now happy to be able to bring you a selection of her stationery products! From notebooks to sticker sets, we've something we're sure you'll love. And if you'd like to make a Cath Kidston bag yourself (perhaps it can be your autumn project!), then don't forget we also have available Cath's brand new book 'Sew' which includes a length of a unique fabric specially printed for the book, together with handles, a label and button and instructions so you can do just that!

Penguin Accessories

Continuing with the iconic brands, in the book world, there's none more so than Penguin! As well as a selection of Penguin books in store, we also now have available mugs, tea towels, pencils and postcards all featuring the instantly recognizable Penguin covers. If you're stuck for present ideas then why not get the 'Hotel Splendide' tea towel or the 'My Man Jeeves' mug... And if that's not enough Penguin also make bags and even deckchairs in their covers design which we'd be more than happy to order for you for delivery in a few days. Fantastic!

Bo'ness Calendars

If you're finding it's getting to that time of year when you start making notes and stapling bits of paper to the end of your 2009 calendar, perhaps its time to look into getting hold of one for next year? There's nothing like being organised! As well as our lovely Paperblanks diaries we also stock the local Bo'ness calendar. Packed full of great images of the town and the events that take place here throughout the year, this is a great way to keep track of your schedule! (And it even comes with a mailing envelope should you want to send it off to friends or family!)


OK, so you've made your Cath Kidston bag, drunk tea from your Penguin mug, marked your place in the poetry booklet with your beaded bookmark and organised your schedule for next year... what's left to do? Why not play a game! We now also have in stock the educational card game 'Lecardo'! As well as helping with vocabulary, word recognition and understanding of the written word, it's just great fun (and as it's suitable for ages 8-adult, everyone can play!)

So there you have it! That's a run down of the new lines we have in stock for now, but in the weeks up to Christmas you can bet there'll be more! So keep an eye out for more updates and we'll see you in the shop soon!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Autumn Projects...

Isn't it getting blustery out!

Well, the clocks have changed, the nights are drawing in and Autumn is truly upon us... can Winter be far behind? It's certainly the perfect time to get busy with all those Autumnal craft, cookery and gardening projects you've been thinking about. Whilst we're sure you've a few projects of your own in mind (tidying up leaves? planning your Christmas baking? knitting a few scarves for the coming winter months?), if you need inspired, here's our latest theme window with a few ideas to get you going!

As you can see, we've a few new products in stock now... some of which are exclusive to us here! But there'll be lots more photos and info on those in the next blog posting in a few days. So keep your eyes peeled... or else pop into the shop for a proper browse around!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Books, gifts and more...

As promised, here's part two of the mammoth update - this time looking at a few highlights from all the great new books and stock we have in store!

First, after the success they proved to be last year we now have our Paperblanks 2010 diaries in stock. They were so popular the first time out that we've made sure to get them in early this year. We completely sold out in the run up to last Christmas so if you're thinking of buying one as a pressie (or treating yourself!) make sure you pop in to get yours before they're gone for another year!

Next, in recent months we've been lucky to be able to bring you lots of local history books from the very popular Bo'ness Coal Pits to the much loved Sons O' Brass, and of course the fantastic Hard as Nails and many more. Now we are able to highlight a few more local titles to add to your bookshelves. First, we have in stock the most recent issue of Calatria (Issue 25), the journal of the Falkirk Local History Society. This issue includes articles on the First Parish Church at Muiravonside, and The Employment of Women in the Collieries amongst others, and it contains a great article on The Ordnance Survey Name Book: Bo'ness and Carriden. Well worth a read for anyone with an interest in the history of the area.

The second book with a local flavour that must have a mention is The Briggers: The Story of the Men Who Built the Forth Bridge by Elspeth Wills. This fantastic book, crammed with photographs and stories delves right back into the lives of the forgotten heroes who made the Forth Railway Bridge, one of the finest examples of Victorian engineering, a reality. It includes appendices of the men who died during it's construction and brings to light some absolutely fascinating facts and statistics.

Moving all the way to the West Coast next, if you're tired of Jamie, Gordon and Nigella teaching you how to stuff a mushroom or spatchcock a chicken, why not try going back to where it all started - the Glasgow Cookery Book is finally available again, revised and updated for 2010, the centenary year of it's first publication. Originally this was the textbook of The Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science - fondly dubbed the Do (or Dough) School - and was put together by the school's staff to document the recipes they taught in class. Its practical approach to cooking on a budget is as relevant now as it ever was. In this newest edition there's a fascinating preface by Glasgow crime writer Alex Gray - Alex's Aunt Ella was a student at the college in 1909! And it all fits in perfectly with the shop as we're going with a cookery theme in the window this week!

Finally for now, steaming into the shop this month (and a great one to keep in mind for Christmas) the Thomas the Tank Engine Owners Workshop Manual from Haynes! A fantastic idea for a book, this will be a brilliant gift for any kid (or big kid!) this Christmas.

Away from the new books side of things, did you know we now stock luxury wrapping paper, gift tags and bows? All this of course as well as a great little selection of cards and lots of non-book stationery, from booklights and magnifiers to book chairs, bookmarks and more. We even have Edinburgh 2010 calendars and Bo'ness postcards!

So as you can see, we've been busy, and we hope to see you back in the shop again for some of these great new things soon!

Events, happenings and goings-on...

Yet again, far too long has passed since the last blog update but fear not, it's certainly not due to lack of activity! There's a lot to shout about both in the shop and around the town, so rather than a long rambling round-up of it all this post will be in two parts! Firstly all the events, happenings and goings-on of the past wee while, and in a few days, the next post will carry on with all the new books, stock and more!

First thing's first, if you were in town last weekend you might have noticed these guys marching around...

Yep, it was Roman Week in Bo'ness, and we were paid a visit from the Antonine Guard. As they marched around the town on Saturday rounding off Roman Week with a bit of Antonine flare, photo opportunities abounded (thanks to Adrian Mahoney for this great picture!)

Throughout the week there was a programme of events that included talks at the Hippodrome, events at Kinneil House and an Italian market in the town centre! The week was a great success and looks set to be repeated in future (but bigger and better of course).

Bigger and better is something the Bo'ness Hill Climb revival meeting took to heart earlier in the month. This is the second year the meeting has been staged and this time, as well as an extended track, the date of the meeting coincided with events at the SRPS. One of the highlights of the weekend was the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly past. It's certainly been a busy few weeks in Bo'ness.

Not to be outdone, we in the shop have been getting in on the act too. Over the last few months we've been selling books to schools, at company picnics, to book groups and more. And now we've teamed up with the Bo'ness Hippodrome to offer an exclusive discount! Over the next few months the Hippodrome is showing several films based on books (including Time Traveller's Wife, My Sister's Keeper, and The 39 Steps). Now, if you go to see the film, you can bring your ticket along to the shop to get a 10% discount off the book of the film! (Click here to see the programme and plan your visit) And if you've seen the film and read the book then you'll want to have a chat about it, so why not pop along to the Bo'ness Library for their new Book of the Film book group - the Time Traveller's Wife will be discussed next Tuesday 29th September and tickets can be collected from the Library or the Hippodrome.

If you're in the mood for chatting about books then why not reserve your ticket to the Homecoming event with author Robert Low - it will be hosted in Bo'ness Library on Thursday October 8th at 7pm. The author will be there to speak and answer questions about his published work and his future plans (including a trilogy based on the Scottish Wars of Independence and featuring the Battle of Falkirk!) Tickets costing £1 are available from the Library, and it's another event in town that's not to be missed!

Last, but certainly not least, there's one final event in town that simply can't be forgotten - BRAAS will be holding this year's Bo'ness Real Ale Festival on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd October at Bo'ness Town Hall. A weekend to remember... Cheers!

Whew! But there's more - new stock, new books, much more... but you'll have to wait a few days for the next post for all of that!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Fair Day!

Well that time of year has come around again already! It's Bo'ness Fair Day on Friday as evidenced by the amazing arches being built all over town. As last year, the shop will be closed on Friday (along with most of the other shops in town) so we can all enjoy the day, but we'll be back as usual on Saturday!

And speaking of the fair, we're pleased to say we've sold out of our initial batch of Fair Day DVDs... but another batch will be along on Saturday though so don't despair, just make sure you reserve your copy before this lot is gone too!

Have a wonderful Fair day!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

As I'm sure you can tell by the distinct lack of activity on all things online and electronic-y recently the shop has been a liiiiittle bit busy. We've had the popular annual Victorian Street Fair in town, lots of ticket sales for the Barony Theatre's hilarious production of The Holy Terror, and the brilliant charity Abba night, and of course our new-for-2009 selection of Bo'ness Fair Day cards arriving in the shop, as well as a whole raft of new books to love! Whew!

First, to the books...

New in this month we're loving the new book from local publishers, Pocket Mountains: Stirling, 40 Town and Country Walks. The latest in the series, this book includes walks round Bo'ness and Kinneil, the Antonine Wall and Muiravonside, as well as some lovely routes out as far afield as Bridge of Allan, Loch Katrine, Callander, Dunblane and all points in between. A great little pocket reference if you feel like a wander on a lovely sunny afternoon. (PS. We also have the Edinburgh book in stock too if you fancy a potter around the East coast's finest walks.)

Another couple of recent arrivals are the first two in a great new detective series for kids from Tanya Landman: Monday's are Murder, and Dead Funny. Both feature eleven-year-old detective Poppy Fields and are billed as '"Miss Marple" for the younger reader'. Having quickly finished the first book where Poppy solves a series of murders at an activity centre on a remote Scottish island, I'm interested to see how she gets on in Dead Funny when she tries to solve the mysterious death of ageing starlet Baby Sugarcandy whilst on holiday in the US. (Though by all accounts, Poppy is a very capable pre-teen, so I'm sure she'll manage to wrap it all up nicely!)

Finally on the books front, I'm currently racing through the Arsonist's Guide to Writer's Homes in New England by Brock Clarke which arrived in paperback a few weeks ago. A proper(ish) review will follow once I've finished, but from what I've read so far (up to page 106...) I can recommend it to anyone as a great read - wry observant humour, a well developed main character, and a carefully plotted story that unfolds new turns at just the right moments... all pulled together with a brilliant balance of wit and weirdness... my personal favourites. Thumbs up so far, and I've high hopes for the ending.

And next to the Fair...

This year we're stocking Fair Day cards which can either be bought plain, or can be personalised with your child's name / role. The cards we currently stock are Queen, Flower Girl, Fairy, Lady in Waiting, Queen's Herald, and a few general Thank You and Happy Fair Day cards. Our full range can be seen in the window, and judging on the success we've had already we'll definitely bring these back next year, albeit with an expanded selection to include more named roles as well as themed cards for each school's presentees.

Continuing with the Fair theme, copies of the much anticipated Fair Day DVD (as mentioned in the Bo'ness Journal last week) are due to arrive in the shop this weekend. If you've already let me know of your interest in it then I'll be phoning you as soon as the delivery arrives in the shop, and if not, what are you waiting for? They should be here this weekend so stop by and get your copy and have a wander down memory lane.

And finally (as if all that weren't enough!)...
To top off a busy few weeks, the programmes for the Edinburgh International Book Festival have just arrived in the shop. If you want to find out who's appearing this year then check out the website here or pop into the shop to pick up a copy of the programme for yourself. (You can book tickets from June 22nd onwards).

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

I've found a wonderful book...

OK, being a bookseller I find great books all the time but I've realised that hardly any of these amazing books ever get any blog time here - a fact I'd pledged to rectify in the shop's resolutions list this year. So here's the first of many wonderful books I've found (more to follow soon!) ...

This first book is called Black's Sketchbooks 'Edinburgh' 1912 by Gordon Home, and it's a wonderful little hardback containing 15 beautiful pencil sketches of Edinburgh. The sketches show the city as it was in 1912 and feature various locations such as Princes Street, the Castle, John Knox's House etc. as well as the Forth Bridges at South Queensferry, and (have I said this before?) they are just beautiful. They show Edinburgh in all its majesty and contain a level of detail that makes you just want to pack up and go!

The book (available at the bargain price of just £6.99) is part of a series which includes books on London, Cambridge, Stratford Upon Avon, Bath and Wells, and Canterbury, and if any of those places are special to you or someone you know, this would make a wonderful purchase. (Now if only there was one on Bo'ness!)

Monday, 6 April 2009

Movie Magic in Bo'ness...

Look at the lovely movie window!

Isn't it pretty? It's all in aid of the opening of the Bo'ness Hippodrome this week. It's a beautifully restored old cinema, just down the road from the shop that's lain unused for far too long. But now it's been all spruced up and is ready to open it's doors. It will be a wonderful new addition to the visitor attractions in the town and I'm looking forward to seeing my first film in there! It will be open for the first screenings for the public at the end of the week, and the programme of what's going to be on there can be seen here. It even made the news here... and here! (Of course, if you pop along to the cinema, don't forget to visit us here afterwards!)

Yep, the movie window is pretty cool... as is the Easter window over the other side... OK, so my drawings of chicks and lambs aren't going to win me any prizes, but you get the picture and it helps make the place look a little more spring like! Lovely!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

In brief...

In an attempt to get back to blogging slightly more regularly, here's a bit of a brief housekeeping post to keep you updated on a couple of things really quickly...

* March's enewsletter has finally been sent out (yeay!) if you didn't get one and would like one, you can sign up for it here and I'll email it out to you asap.
* I've updated the website again to include this month's new books, and whilst I was there I tweaked it a bit and added the odd extra page here and there. If you want a nosey round it you can get there by clicking here.
* We now have more copies of Hard as Nails back in the shop (it completely sold out last week!) so pop in and pick up yours before it goes again!
* We still have copies of the children's World Book Day books available. Just bring in your yellow voucher to get yours, or purchase them with actual cash-money for the princely sum of ...£1 each.

That's about all for now... a slightly more rambling post to follow soon!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


After logging on to check a few other blogs (see the small but perfectly formed list on the right), and reading Vanessa's spot on remarks about leaving blogs hanging, I suddenly realised how long it's been since this one was updated! So for this I apologise profusely, and now offer a bit of a swiftish run down of what's happened this year so far in an attempt to catch up...

January: The first month into 2009 went pretty well... quite a few people came to the shop and spent, spent, spent on books they wanted but didn't get for Christmas. Excellent! More new books arrived and quite a few books were sold; the remaining shop plants clung on throught the freezing cold with barely a grumle; we took books out on the road, and even managed to squeeze in a blog post!

February: Though February was quieter in the shop, with slightly less people coming in, the ones who did bought books none the less. Great! Along with Pebbles and The Bo'ness Toyshop we embarked on a bit of a marketing drive ('hello' to all the new folks!), and I visited a fab new independent bookshop in Glasgow (more on that below). The massive yellow dumpbin for World Book Day arrived in the shop and I stupidly built it up in the cupboard straight away rather than leaving it till the time it could be put out in the shop. This of course meant that I ended up spending the last few weeks twisting and turning to get past it whenever I wanted to make a cup of tea.

March: well, since we're only on day 3, there's not a lot to report yet, but I'm happy to say that the yellow dumpbin is now on the shop floor, leaving me room to get to the kettle (yeay!) and all the World Book Day books are now available for the princely sum of £1 (or one of those lovely yellow World Book Day book tokens!). And I'll be getting back writing up the old enewsletter too (which also had a bit of a break these last few months) - March issue to be sent sometime in the next few days.

Now for a bit more on my visit to another indy bookshop: Lost in Fiction. If you're in Glasgow's West End at any point, do make the trip and pop in to see it. Eileen has a beautiful little shop, well stocked and with a wonderful feel to it. She's been doing brilliant things with book groups (shhh... I might nick a few of her ideas in the next few months!) and it was just lovely to talk to someone else who's still fairly new to the whole bookshop lark. Her shop is definitely worth a visit, and I hope to return the favour soon and have her pop through to Bo'ness to see my little shop!

Right, enough bloging, time to get back to shop work - those window displays won't change themselves, and since I've just sold the last of the Katy Morag books, there's a spot of ordering to be done too!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

My First Bookselling Christmas... (Part 2: A look back at 2008)

Well, we made it through the first Christmas with only minor scrapes and bruises! Yeay! All of our worries about orders not arriving etc. proved unfounded, and everyone seemed to leave happy with their purchases which is the whole object of the business! Now to analyze the year as a whole...

Books: By a mile, our bestsellers proved to be the local books. Bo'ness folk have oodles of pride in the town and so books such as Bo'ness: A Glimpse of the Past; Bo'ness Speed Hill Climb; Forth at War, and the newly launched Sons O' Brass pretty much flew off the shelves. Truth be told, over Christmas we struggled to keep some of them in stock, but thankfully we were able to get copies to everyone who wanted them at the end of the day. In contrast, the big celebrity biographies are now languishing on the sale shelves...

Busy-ness: As for how busy we were, over the year we've had our busy days and quiet days, and we've definitely spotted a few seasonal trends to work with for next year. Certainly we noticed people began to mutter about Christmas presents right from the start of November, and from then on the shop got steadily busier week after week, with Christmas Eve being our busiest day since opening! (Yep, there still are some last minute buyers out there... thankfully I'm not the only one!)

Opening Hours: Sunday opening proved much more popular in December than in the rest of the year so we've decided to take advantage of this to have a few months without Sunday opening in order to get other things done around the place - organise some better storage in the office, put up some blinds, move a few things around, do a few leaflet drops etc. etc. etc. but Sunday opening will return later in the year (and of course we're happy to open the shop by appointment on a Sunday if that's the only time someone is able to make it... just give us a shout).

What we did well: Not to blow our own trumpet or anything but essentially, we've established a new bookshop in a town that's not had one for decades in the middle of the worst economic recession in living memory. Even if we gave it all up now that's still quite a feat! But looking back there's been a few milestones along the way that are worth recognising:
  • We've had our first ever day trading... and subsequently our first run-in with tax, VAT and account-y type spreadsheets
  • We've built up a fantastic customer base of wonderful book browsers and buyers in the shop, and a brilliant list of enewsletter readers
  • We've established and maintained book supply accounts with local schools, community groups and businesses
  • We've got a pretty nifty website up and running (...with absolutely no website experience!)
  • We've successfully processed hundreds of customer orders
  • We've been shortlisted for an award
  • We've held our first book launch
  • We've visited book groups, community groups, churches and schools
  • We've started a fledgling ticket sales project
  • We've survived our first Christmas season
  • We've been a part of local events such as the Victorian Street Fair, Children's Fair Festival, Christmas lights switch on
  • We've trialled Sunday opening & Late Night opening
  • We've forged relationships with other businesses and groups in the community
  • We've kept the blog going (...even if it's been a little sporadic)
  • We've successfully killed one laptop and three Boston Ferns... erm
  • We've learned a lot about: people, business, politics, supply & demand, accounts, economics, window dressing, the merits of blu-tac & post-it notes, and generally about how to get things done
  • and much, much more...
Improvements for 2009: We hope to start building up a bigger stock of complementary products in the shop over the coming year. We already have some journals, address books, reading glasses etc. as well as a small selection of greetings cards, but we think this all can be expanded to include more pocket money picks for the kids, a greater selection of stationery, gift wrap, book related gifts and a lot more besides. But don't panic... we're still fundamentally a bookshop through and through, and we don't intend to sacrifice our the books for unrelated cheap tat - everything we bring in will be book related.

To Do: So thinking ahead, I've prepared a Top 10 to-do list for this year in the shop (in truth, most of this is not new, but rather stuff we've always planned but which we've not had a chance to get started on till now!):

  1. To expand on the non-book stock we have available, adding new lines as the year progresses
  2. To better organise our own system of shop gift vouchers to go alongside the National Book Tokens we offer
  3. To let more people know about the shop (through more, and better targeted marketing)
  4. To further build up our established enewsletter list, and to expand our existing website - and update it more often!
  5. To find time to set up more of the services we planned to offer right from the start
  6. To organise behind the counter better so things can be found more quickly
  7. To sort out the paper and computerised filing systems so paperwork takes half the time it currently does (... this one might just be a dream!)
  8. To do more book reviews, in the shop, on the blog, the enewsletter and the website
  9. To establish regular offers in the shop
  10. To keep doing everything we've already been doing... but better!

It's by no means an exhaustive list but those are the main points for now (though they could change at any minute!) so this time next year I can look back and see if everything has been achieved! Well, you've got to have a plan right?

So all in all, I think we've had a successful first year - there's been highs and lows, and a ridiculous learning curve to climb (which I've really only just started) but it's been an enjoyable, scary, happy, worrying, brilliant, silly, amazing, stressful, fantastic journey... So here's to the next part - bring on 2009!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Part 2 of the Christmas / festive post will follow in a few days, but I just wanted to write a quick post to say a great big Happy New Year to all our friends, customers, suppliers and blog readers who stop by the website (and the shop) every now and then! I hope everyone had a lovely time over the festive period and that everyone is refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges that may lie in the year ahead! Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009 for us all!