Archive for the ‘Camden Lock Books’ category

Pets and Books

October 4th, 2013

Contented Book dealers often have pets in their book shops or market stalls. Do you have or know of a domestic pet that stays with its owner in their shop, book room or warehouse? If so, take a photo and send it in – preferably with anecdotes!
Camden Lock Books has a three year old rescue dog who comes to the bookshop every Thursday morning. She is a mongrel that is a ‘collaboration’ -part collie, part black Labrador and part Alsatian. She arrived a year ago, having recently had a litter, via Dorset Dog Rescue, from a pound in Ireland where she had been scheduled for extermination.
She is surprisingly well socialised and adjusted (though somewhat food obsessed),  as you can find out if you come into the bookshop one Thursday for a meet and greet with her. In fact, she’s so affectionate that a tummy rub is in prospect for any dog lover who needs that special animal ‘fix’.

Yesterday a customer came to buy a book at the counter and said that Rosie had sold it to him- that it had felt so homely to see her  reclined on the bookshop floor that he felt compelled to make his purchase.

Cats are always choosy about where they sleep – but Rosie has a bed made for her behind the counter because she is sometimes too friendly, particularly if a customer is carrying their eat-out lunch in a bag with them.


New English Bookselling Idea

October 12th, 2011

What I’d like to see getting going is a celebration in England on every St George’s Day that involves all the women buying books as gifts for their menfolk, and all the men buying roses for their womenfolk. This is how the day (known as La Diada de Sant Jordi is celebrated in Barcelona where St. George is the Catalonian patron saint. It makes for a huge injection of adult interest in books in that region of Spain.
Does anyone agree that it sounds like a great celebration to adopt and introduce in England? Valentine’s Day is a single day marketing device that provides card & gift shops with an enormous financial uplift every year. I think bookshops and publishers could benefit from something similar.
If you like this idea & can promote it then please spread the word. If you know anyone else you think may like it please let them know.

Help Save Independent Bookshops

September 4th, 2011

There’s plenty of bookshops that have had to close down – there always have been. But, in the past, the reasons were retirement or increases in rent and rates. Nowadays there are three extra death blows to bookshops: Ereaders, supermarkets and Amazon . So devastating is the combination of these pressures that independent bookshops have ben forced to close but even colossal bookshop chains like Borders have collapsed and disappeared.
In France the government lauds independents:
their minister for culture is legislating for booksellers’ social charges to be cut and for a state mediator to be appointed to help them cope with digitisation.
You can help save independent bookshops in the UK by asking for the debate to take place in our country: do we want to save independent bookshops and are we prepared to legislate to support their survival?
We can lobby groups like 38 degrees asking them to push the survival of independent bookshops higher up the agenda.
Save independent bookshops and legislate to support their survival.
Bookshops are a small but significant plank of cultural life in UK. Ereaders, internet and supermarkets are forcing good independent bookshops out of business. Unless the government rules a cut in charges for bookshops, our country can look forward to a future without any bookshops left.

Book Reader vs. Book Owner?

June 11th, 2011

John Makinson, CEO of Penguin Group, in a Wall Street Journal q&a recently stated:

“There is a growing distinction between the book reader and the book owner. The book reader just wants the experience of reading the book, and that person is a natural digital consumer: instead of a disposable mass market book, they buy a digital book.

The book owner wants to give, share and shelve books. They love the experience.

As we [Penguin Books] add value to the physical product, particularly the trade paperback and hardcover, the consumer will pay a little more for the better experience.”

So Penguin expects there to be a clear & growing division between ‘readers’ and ‘owners’ of books.  I think this distinction is somewhat artificial, but it does help justify their policy to enhance books & increase prices: books as collectables.


Bookshops, according to Penguin’s CEO’s suggestions, would seem to be in jeopardy unless they morph into heritage- type gift shops. Bookshop customers are expected to decline in numbers, so either they would need to be prepared to spend more or books would need to be more profitable to the bookshops.

These developments may not sit entirely comfortably with all booksellers- some may hesitate to pursue the path of purely objectifying more expensive books; most bookshops are likely to pursue a canny compromise: a  watchful strategy that will include stocking paperback books as basic entertainment & enlightenment, and also hardback books as valued possessions. Some independents will also encourage the e-buying public to use their bookshop websites [such as this one] to download digital content.


May 3rd, 2011

Historically, most bookshops in the UK survive for as long as the rent and rate increases don’t combine to put them out of business.
Last November my rent came up for review mid-recesssion. My landlords are very large landlords and control virtually all the properties in the underground system in London. We have reached a settlement for a modest rent increase over the next three years. So all’s well that ends well.
But we hear and read that bookshops will now face their greatest threat from being sidelined by the all powerful Amazon and the rise of the ebook.
So will our bookshop still be healthy in November 2013?
Today for the first ever time, someone enquired as to whether they could download ebooks in the bookshop- the new technological tide is coming in.
Since we started our bookshops in 1984 we have seen out several major economic recessions, the change to the laws in Sunday trading, the abolition of the Net Book Agreement, and the advent of the Internet. During those years it was the power of landlords that held greatest potential for condemning our bookshop to disappear.
Now, without adaptation of our bookshop to the new post-ebook era,we’ll be emaciated beyond recognition and face relegation to the ranks of booksellers online. Our future as a physical bookshop depends on how well we can read, how well we can read our customers needs. We think we need to respond more instantaneously to customer demand, to curate our choice of books with greater sensitivity, enhance the unique  feel of our shop, and extend our online offering.