It wasn’t my intention to write blog posts about bookshops that I just visited to say hi for social media purposes but I had such lovely welcomes at both Nickleby’s in Llantwit Major and Cowbridge Bookshop, yesterday, that I just wanted to mention them here.
Both Llantwit Major and Cowbridge are small enough not to have been bothered by the likes of Waterstones or WH Smiths so John Woods at Nickleby’s and Ross McClean at Cowbridge are central to bookbuying in their communities.
(Can you see In Two Minds in the window behind me?!)
However, although some of us have independent bookshops on our doorstep, most people live within striking distance of a big city, so if there’s a choice between a big chain and an independent bookshop, why should you go to the indie?
Beause they have the interest and the capacity to get to know you and they know books.
I sat chatting to Ross McClean in Cowbridge Bookshop yesterday for half an hour or so and, on the basis of our conversation about books and what I enjoy he sold me two novels which I’m very much looking forward to reading.
That might – just possibly – have happened in Waterstones if it was a slow day, but never in Smith’s where the staff are not booksellers. But for Ross, that’s an everyday occurrence – it’s what he does. He greeted several of the visitors to the shop by name, as did John Woods at Nickleby’s and both knew what their customers been reading recently. For somebody hungry for the best new books, that’s like gold dust – somebody who knows what you like and will recommend stuff you might like to try? In dress shops that’s called a personal shopper and it has to be paid for!
John at Nickleby’s had mentioned to a few people that I would be popping in and that, if they’d like their books signed, I could do that. One lady rang the shop to say that she was running late and wouldn’t be able to get to the shop while I was there so would I be able to sign a book to her and she’d pay over the phone? I can’t imagine WH Smith’s staff doing that, can you?
Me in Nickleby’s in front of a display of my books!
Many thanks to John at Nickleby’s and Ross at Cowbridge for their warm and booksellerly welcome to their lovely shops.