Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The march of universal literacy

Back in the a day before graduating to being a shop assistant here in Michael's Bookshop, I was a mechanic of sorts. Twiddling things, electronic, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, metal, wood, even light, I developed a, probably warped view, of what then were called the working classes. 

Amongst this set, were a subset, who while very good at what they did with, wires, pipes, nuts, bolts, wood and saws. when it came to filling out the job sheet, instigated a dialog; thus.

W "Left my reading glasses behind."

M "Do you want to borrow mine?"

W "I'm a bit dyslexic."

M, not wanting to cause an awkward moment for a good worker. "I'll get a charge hand to fill it out with you."

Times have changed and the thumbs now fly across the screen of the smartphone, followed by. "Do you want it by, text or email guv?

Now in the light of current research, which seems to be saying that, screen usage may make you less happy.
Here is the link to the research results

I think the bottom line here is that while the screen has made a great many people more literate and as we know reading is fairly addictive, few people want to read themselves, stupid, angry, less curious or even into "medication time".

For a lot of people this means the paper book.

  (I have used phone pictures of books on the shelves here in the bookshop to illustrate this.) With this picture if your aspirations are a bit like the book on the left, your last encounter with printed books was somewhere in the middle, it can lead to the title on the far right.

 Do you just go on where you left off?
  or perhaps

 jump straight in
 while the iron is hot
with books for your shed.
Pardon the fuzzy phone pictures.

My task over the next few weeks is to check the prices on the books in our craft section and reduce the ones that have gone down in value since we originally priced them.

so while these have maintained their internet prices, in some case the online price has gone up, although I have left ours the same.

 Woodworker annuals have gone down from £4.99 to £2.50, my guess is reflecting similar content on the internet
The objective here is to keep on top of being cheaper than the competition, mostly the internet, I have found that this is the key to staying in business.

Monday, 7 January 2019

The things people say in bookshops

Of course there is. "I love the smell of bookshops."

I have worked on and off in bookshops since around 1966 and while I concede that bookshops selling new books do have a distinct smell, I am not so sure about secondhand bookshops. To me, normally the bookshop I work in doesn't smell of anything. I has occurred to me that this is because I smell the same as the bookshop; strangely no one has ever accosted me and said. "I do love the smell of booksellers!"

It's only around lunchtime and the strangest thing overheard in the bookshop so far today is. "It's got 44 lines to the page; I'm not a complete anorak"

While I am on this subject and for the customer who recently asked. "Where's your Dick?" we had some in, about 14 I think on Saturday, photos on the page showing the books we had in, put out on Saturday. Behold the link sorry about size, the link that is - Google Search won't recognise the page Google Blogger generates for mobile users if the link's too small.

Customer conversation participants; me = M customer = C a sort of MC unsquared

C   'Have you got any Henty?'

brain returns to about 1970 - when I last read Henty and slides across to bookselling but can't move forward in time

the page that come up in brain's terra incognita looks a bit like this.

C 'I haven't read Henty but have just read Sarum by Rutherford and someone suggested I read Henty.'

M finding some cheap Henty (£1.99 lacks frontis as customer mostly buys books priced between 5p and 50p) ' I think you would get on better with one of the later Folletts, Henty is a Victorian children's writer and may be a bit difficult to get into.'

C Opens "For the Temple", reads a bit and the says. 'I see, it's just like Enid Blyton.' ends up buying early Follett.

Another recent one. "Are the books in the window display real?"

I suppose the most common one is. "Is this a library?"

Dusting the art books recently someone said, "It smells like a florist in here."

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The Ninth Day of Christmas

Neat Graffiti

You too can make your books look like Airan Kang's Glowing Books:

Customers today...
Nine ladies dancing

Monday, 31 December 2018

New Years Eve

Shop furniture and carpets mostly back in place, and the shopkeeper was greeted to the working day by W. B. Yeats on the doormat (many thanks anonymous).

subliminal advertising?

Interesting diversity of customers today including an Australian who refused to spend thirty Aussie dollars on Paul Auster's 4321 novel back home, and an Israeli who can't find a place in England to sell books written in Hebrew. We stock the occasional bible in Hebrew, and dictionaries too, but general reading, sorry we don't have the space.

See you next year!

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Secondhand Bookshops Introductory Post

We already have a couple of active blogs


Which is Michael's general blog mostly covering stuff related to this part of the UK i.e. the most eastern part of Kent which once was an island and is sill called The Isle of Thanet, now a triangle containing Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs

Michael's Bookshop

Which is photos of the books we price and put out on the shelves in the bookshop every working day.

The view from my desk looks like this, a desk behind a desk, there are eight of us who work in this bookshop, although not all at the same time there are three desks behind the till desk.

There is a lot of using computers in our work and with the recent report saying:-

• More hours of screen time are associated with lower well-being

• High users show less curiosity, self-control, and emotional stability.

• Twice as many high (vs. low) users of screens had an anxiety or depression diagnosis.

• Non-users and low users did not differ in well-being.

• Associations with well-being were larger for adolescents than for children.

we are a getting bit worried.

Here is the link to the report

Back in the day the main sources of information pricing books were on paper 

The queen of this being BAR or Book Auction Records
I's afraid drawing on my own toolkit here does show may age a bit when going down this particular rabbit hole where first editions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland could be bought for less that £1,000.

My father managed bookshops from before I was born with me working on and off in them from the time I was a teenager, I was also a sort of mechanic for a bit, but mostly it's been shop assistant in a secondhand bookshop, the last 50 years.

Sorry lost the thread here a bit.

Back to the report, survey, wosisname, apart from this seeming to say that reading about what's down rabbit hole, on a device, kindle, phone, laptop, desktop or tablet, is going make you. what? 80% more stupid. So is watching it on TV I guess.

There is an aspect of this more along the lines of, 'Always look on the bright side.' Than, every cloud...

I am trying to type this out with the screen turned off, but it's altogether more tricky than you would think.