Monday, 3 February 2014

Snap, crackle and pop!

One of the other strings to my strange bow is that I'm an author. I've had one children's adventure story published so far, and a prequel or sequel (depending on how you look at it) will be launched in April.

But I am not here to blab on about my books. I blogged a while ago about the plight of independent bricks and mortar bookshops in the shadow of that ever-growing behemoth, amazon. Since then, the dark side of amazon has increasingly come to light (how's that for a mixed-up metaphor?) and I am particularly pleased to see one new enterprise go from strength to strength in the South-East of England: Daisy White's Booktique.

In my 2012 blog, I may have missed a trick. I defined the battle as being between 'bricks and mortar' and 'online'. Well, Daisy's Booktique is neither, or both, or more. The Booktique pops up in markets, Arts Centres, festivals, town centres, shop spaces and you-name-it. So as well as having all those advantages of a bricks and mortar indie bookshop - personal contact, a venue for more than selling, part of the community, support for indie authors and publishers, there is an added element that's a combination of pleasant surprise, freshness, flexibility and scarcity (in the sense of if you don't go this Saturday, you've missed it).

In comparison to the surviving bookshop chains, there is no Head Office breathing down Daisy's neck telling her to stock just from the major publishing houses, or demanding that authors doing a signing only speak when spoken to, or pooh-poohing the idea of stocking anything other than books, even if it is a beautiful hamper full of "Literary Lusciousness"- books and everything you need to snuggle up and enjoy them, from choccies to cushions.

Most importantly, the Booktique offers something you can't put a price on: a real experience. Whether it's authors and artists networking with publishers, readers chatting with writers, creative collaborations sparking new ideas - this feels like the future.

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