Hold off on that booking and get ready to change your travel plans ... once you've read this book, you'll be wanting to visit Shaun Bythell's premises in Wigtown, touted as the biggest secondhand bookshop in Scotland. From the daily till receipts and the latest staff insurrection, to the verbal gems from querulous customers and the rhythms of a country town with its myriad festivals, it's all here in diary form.
Chronicling the day-to-day scrabbling for a living in a commercial environment strongly influenced by the author's nemesis (Amazon), this fascinating story will have you laughing out loud while you are enthusiastically writing down what recovered treasure you should be reading next. [Small font]
Our score doesnt reflect our review. One-third of the group, those who frequent second-hand book shops, loved it and found many laugh-out-loud moments and related to some of the customers' habits. Those of us who had been in business were painfully aware of the unviability of the business, so we found the daily tally of online sales, customers to turnover and the hope of a more profitable tomorrow page-turning. Others found it mediocre or downright boring.
Most of the group enjoyed the book - we laughed a lot in reading and discussing it. We found that the book was enhanced by listening to Kim Hill's interviews with the author on the RNZ website, and watching YouTube videos made by him and his staff.
Those that read the book found it entertaining if a little repetitive. It was an easy book to pick up and put down. Small font size was off putting for those of us who like to read at night. Those members of our group who have experienced owning their own retail business identified with many of the customers.
We nearly all enjoyed this book. We enjoyed the characters, staff and customers. His lovely turn of phrase was very entertaining.
One of the funniest books so far. A cast of quirky characters and laugh out loud moments.
Most were not enthusiastic about this trivial, routine, repetitive narrative with no plot. Although for some "easy to pick up and put down". Perhaps an interesting observation of the human condition.
Enjoyed by all. A quirky view of Shaun's clients and staff.
Interestingly, the general chat of people's opinions prior to looking at the questions, actually covered most of the question topics . Some members of the group really loved the book and thought it very funny. Others felt it was a good book to pick up at odd times, as there wasn't a story thread to lose. The group enjoyed the humour, and found the process of acquiring books fascinating - as we suspect the author does - and valued the insight into the effects of such mass marketing enterprises as Amazon.
Some of our group found this book difficult to read and less laugh out loud than expected. We did however develop fondness for some of the characters, especially Nicky. We enjoyed finding Nicky and Shaun and the book shop on You Tube. It was great doing a virtual tour of the shop.
Most of us thought it wasn't easy to get into, but as time went on we enjoyed it more and more. Beautifully written with a dry sense of humour, which got drier - poor Nicky! A member brought along her laptop and we had a wonderful time with You Tube footage of Shaun's unusual letter of recommendation and Nicky reading. Discussion centred on the need to preserve BOOKS - and damn Kindle. A few of us would like to shoot at a Kindle as well!
Very popular with the group. A wonderful, funny insight into the world of book trading/selling.
We all really enjoyed this book, an amusing read.
We all loved it. Very quirky and lots of 'laugh out loud' moments.
Several found the reading in diary form quite difficult but all finished it, enjoying the quirky characters that he met and/or worked with, and his blunt sometimes caustic remarks. Many felt the book was too long. I enjoyed his summing up in the epilogue.
The overall feedback was positive, enjoyable and interesting, with some reservations about the small print. The group liked the author's sense of humour and the new insights into the running of a bookshop.
Most found this a thoroughly enjoyable read. The minority found it became tedious.
We all enjoyed this book immensely. Lived up to all the accolades - warm, funny, outspoken, biting humour. Shaun certainly writes with 'biting humour', and Nicky is quite one of a kind! We are looking forward to reading his next book, 'Confessions of a Bookseller'.
Half loved it, half found it rather tedious. Different story type. Good discussion. Small print put some people off.
Loved the author's sense of humour. Some members are now following "the bookshop' on Facebook. We have decided to purchase more books from secondhand stores to keep them going up against Amazon (for example).
A mixed reaction from our group. We were concerned about the effects of online sales on retail. We found some of the trivial detail about the shop a bit irritating, but got a very good picture of the shop and the town.