Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Book: Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Bythell, Shaun. 2020. Confessions of a Bookseller. DRG.

This book chronicles a year in the life of its curmudgeonly author, who runs the largest used bookstore in Scotland.

There are tales of his eccentric employees, eccentric townspeople, eccentric Scots with books to sell, and eccentric customers. A couple examples of the latter group serve to capture the book's flavor:

A young woman bought a copy of the Kama Sutra and offered to do a reading from it for Facebook. I thought it best to decline.


Just one customer by lunchtime, huffing and puffing his way around the shop. He managed to redeem himself by spending [50 pounds] and telling me--with no apparent sense of irony--about a bookshop in Cornwall that has a huge sign at the counter which reads `NO ANECDOTES.'

Another way to get a sense of the book is to watch a couple of the videos whose creation it describes, such as the "kindle fire" video and the "night before Christmas" video.

Amidst all this fun the reader also learns a lot about the business of running a used bookstore in the modern age - e.g. the number of online orders received is recorded for each day, along with the number of said books actually found in this shop, which is often less.

I enjoyed it thoroughly but I am a bibliophile and have some Scots hiding in my family tree. 

This is the other book I got at Kismet books in Verona a few weeks ago.

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