Thursday, 24 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
...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
Friday, 20 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
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.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
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
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!
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
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
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
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
Look at the lovely movie window!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
* 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
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
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...
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!):
- To expand on the non-book stock we have available, adding new lines as the year progresses
- To better organise our own system of shop gift vouchers to go alongside the National Book Tokens we offer
- To let more people know about the shop (through more, and better targeted marketing)
- To further build up our established enewsletter list, and to expand our existing website - and update it more often!
- To find time to set up more of the services we planned to offer right from the start
- To organise behind the counter better so things can be found more quickly
- 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!)
- To do more book reviews, in the shop, on the blog, the enewsletter and the website
- To establish regular offers in the shop
- 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!