60 Postcards: Create. Share. Inspire. Bringing you news every Tuesday on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.
I hope you had a fantastic weekend!
The meet up
Last week I held my 60 Postcards meet up in London and had a wonderful time chatting with blog and book readers along with a few of my friends. It was so good to put some names to faces – Rose and Sarah Jane (Mum and sister of Russell – see my Russell’s Postcards post), Gemma (who provided a book reader tale), some students of Greenford High School and lots of lovely tweeters I recognised.
How do you treat your books?
At one point during the meet up a few of us had a discussion about how we treat our printed copies of books. Some spoke of how they (or people they know) do everything in their power to finish their read without making a single mark on a page and by opening the book as little as possible to stop the spine from breaking!
Me? I have to be honest – I throw mine about a bit. The book I read may end up with a few marks on it and I have been known to fold pages, too. (Oh no, you are looking at me in disgust, aren’t you?) My rationale is that I like whatever I am reading to be part of my life or the journey I am on at the time.
I really do adore the feel of a real book in my hands. I love the brand new smell of it and the front and back cover bursting with design and colour. I’m not chain-bashing or kindle-dissing, honest. It’s just that, in my opinion, Indie bookshops are such a great place for book buying. And this post is dedicated to my favourite Indie of them all, who I mentioned in a piece I wrote for a book magazine when talking about some of my postcards that were found in bookshops in Paris:
“Those postcards made me think of my local Independent bookstore, just moments away from my dad’s home and the church where my mum’s funeral was held. When I went in there at Christmas looking for a book for my sister, I was met with a smile and a helpful hand – the personal touch. I hoped that 60 Postcards would find its place in there. I adore the fact that it is a family run shop full of history and memories – all of which are such a pivotal part of my book.”
Gullivers Bookshop is found in the centre of the market town of Wimborne, where I grew up. Their tagline is, ‘More than just a bookshop!’ and I couldn’t agree more.
The Angel family run the shop (Anne and Malcolm along with daughter Jane, son Paul plus a few others). They are so friendly and welcoming, knowledgeable and helpful, and are fiercely passionate about what they do.
On top of their fantastic service in the shop, Jane is also hot on the social media front, which I believe is a vitally important factor in keeping our Indies going. The shop may sell printed books but by interacting with book readers through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, they can provide interesting articles, updates on new books and inform followers about upcoming events.
Why do the Angels love running the bookshop?
Jane said, “The real joy is being able to pick books to suit our customers, to be able to see a particular book and know exactly who will like it! Our bestselling books are never the same as the national bestsellers because we know they’re not what our customer base wants. We have the freedom to support a book and promote it as much as we want because we are head office! Nobody tells us what to do!”
I began chatting to Anne who expressed that she simply loves books and loves the people! We went off to find Malcolm (who was looking for a ladder to put flags up outside the store!) and he exclaimed, “I love this because it beats work”. He told me that when you love what you are doing it just doesn’t seem like work at all. They enjoy the interaction with customers and also with the authors who are invited in for talks and signings.
A Thank you from me
When I had finished writing the book I got chatting to Gullivers, who said that I could have a book signing there. But the Angel family went much further than just providing a space for a signing. I have felt such a warm sense of support from this bookshop and this family every step of the way. Now I visit almost every time I am back, dropping in for a coffee and a chat. I just want them to know how much I appreciate it – so, so much.
Support your Independent Bookshop!
This is the perfect post to tell you about how you can get involved with supporting your local Indie. I’m sure you have all heard about Books are my Bag (BAMB) by now (they are brilliant) who are pushing a campaign, “to champion the passion for books and bookshops and celebrate their cultural importance on the high street”.
BAMB (along with IndieBound Books UK) are running the Independent Bookseller Week, which will be held from 28th June to 5th July. Make sure to check if your local Indie is involved, as there may be talks, signings and readings of interest!
On the final day of this book week there is a brand new event happening called the Bookshop Crawl (Sat 5th July). You are encouraged to visit as many bookshops as possible and document your adventures through bookshop selfies to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #bookshopcrawl.
This sounds like a very fun challenge to me. Game on!
Enjoy your week folks and remember to put the dates above in your diary.
Long live the Indies!
Note: If anyone would like to help me with the bookshop crawl in London please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org!