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The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
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The Diary of a Bookseller (original 2018; edition 2017)

by Shaun Bythell (Author), B/W Frontis (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5212629,367 (4.03)46
Member:aront
Title:The Diary of a Bookseller
Authors:Shaun Bythell (Author)
Other authors:B/W Frontis (Illustrator)
Info:Profile Books Ltd (2017), Edition: 1st
Collections:Your library, Owned, Read
Rating:****
Tags:eBook, Read

Work details

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (2018)

  1. 00
    The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch (sneuper)
    sneuper: A book about a small independent bookstore and the struggle to survive
  2. 00
    Winkeldagboek by Hans Engberts (sneuper)
    sneuper: Also a diary about an antiquarian bookseller, his store and his customers
  3. 00
    Oude Gracht 234 : winkeldagboek 2003-2007 by Hans Engberts (sneuper)
    sneuper: Also a diary written by an antiquarian bookseller about his shop and his customers
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» See also 46 mentions

English (25)  Dutch (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
As someone who has been in book retail for 20 years or so I found myself smiling along at the situations and customers that are all too familiar for those of us lucky enough to do this job. But for all that I enjoyed the book, the diary format was a little repetitive, and Shaun Bythell's occasional withering contempt for the very people who allow him to make his living - the customers - doesn't become him. I see a sequel is on its way this year, which I shall definitely read, but let's hope the passing of a few more years has mellowed his sarcasm.
(What the book did do, however, is make me seek out George Orwell's essay 'Bookshop Memories' from which Bythell quotes a paragraph at the start of each month.) ( )
  Alan.M | Jun 3, 2019 |
Some good observations, both on books and readers. Amazon consists of the small bookshops selling their stock cheaply - so why use Amazon? I guess I buy secondhand books more often than new books on Amazon. Provided by secondhand bookshops. If the smaller secondhand bookshops joined in making and controlling an engine for secondhand books - buyers would follow - I use Amazon because there is few alternatives. The town and country I live in - is to small for it ever to be - an English bookshop here - which means that if I´m to have a taste at anything but the home-brew cooked up in a language read and understood by 4 millions of the world´s 7 billions I have to buy and read books in another language ( I read Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, French and English books in original, and are more often than not left to read translated versions of Spanish, Russian, East-European books I´m interested in, in English).

That said, I cannot take a day of and go fishing if the weather is good. The price tag of that kind of freedom is maybe selling out your co-workes work to Amazons amazing engine, so you don't have to give up fishing at leisure and stay put at daytime, managing the 3rd most amazing bookshop in the world?

A book far too projective in tone to be funny.
  Mikalina | May 27, 2019 |
Have you ever come across a book where you just wanted to bring every character home? This book has a cast of eccentrics like no other and they all gravitate in and around the bookshop. The author fails, in my eyes, to come across as the curmudgeon he thinks he is, as he gives a yearly account of the life and workings in his rambling but cold, secondhand bookshop. The writing style is wickedly flippant, the author clearly loves what he does, despite what he says, and it all makes for splendiferous reading ( )
  Fliss88 | May 2, 2019 |
How can I explain my enjoyment? My disclaimer is, of course, that I love books. I think more than anything the overall tone which was an endearing mix of loving, amused, exasperated, saddened, maddened. . . while very much a person who lives in his head, Shaun Bythell is comfortable (at least writing in his journal!) about his emotional as well as practical experiences as a bookseller. Harder to do than you might think. Even the most exasperating customer is, ultimately, forgiven with the shrug of a person who loves what he does and is willing to take the good and the bad. At one point he remarks that hard work as being a bookseller is (and he is convincing about that) he wouldn't want to be doing anything else, especially if it involves working for someone else. Some of the most fun are the descriptions of his eccentric employees (in particular Nicki of the winter ski suit and Foodie Fridays), going about the countryside to pick up books, the book festival preparations (how I would love to go!) and the bizarre books that people order. It is difficult to know what will happen to the physical book industry, new and used, but I suspect, like the movies, that physical books will persist side-by-side with other options and modalities. ***** ( )
1 vote sibyx | Apr 3, 2019 |
This was very whimsical and gently enjoyable. I could have gone on reading it far longer. ( )
  pgchuis | Mar 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Bythell is often as charmingly unlikeable as his customers, ridiculing them in the book and online. It’s not clear that he’s actually helpful. He routinely receives complaints about unfulfilled or switched book shipments. His employees appear mostly incompetent...

The Diary of a Bookseller doesn’t seem like it should work. Life at The Book Shop is boring. On a typical day Bythell might sell £200 worth of books, once as little as £5. But there is a soothing monotony to the rhythm of his days. Bythell somehow creates a sense of urgency in the nothingness, and readers may feel that if they skip even one day, they’ll miss some winningly cutting remark.
added by SnootyBaronet | editQuartzy, Thu-Huong Ha
 
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Orwell's reluctance to commit to bookselling is understandable.
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AUTOBIOGRAPHY: GENERAL. Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.… (more)

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