Ullapool Bookshop, Ullapool

The next shop in the monthly Browse a Bookshop feature is Ullapool Bookshop in Ullapool, all the way up in Ross and Cromarty (that’s the Highlands of Scotland for the uninitiated). Beautiful countryside and books, what more could a person need?

Ullapool Bookshop,
Quay Street,
Ullapool,
IV26 2UE

Website: www.ullapoolbookshop.co.uk
Sales site: www.ullapooltrading.com (new online niche shop)
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ullapoolbookshop
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ullapoolbookshop

Open all year round 7 days a week, in the summer we open 9am-9pm 6 days a week and 10am-5pm on Sundays

In their own words…

How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?

Name of the place we live in!

Who are you? Owns the bookshop?

Bookshop is owned by Mr William Thomson and Mrs Katrina Thomson, local family. Managed by Katharine Douglas for the past 2 years, along with 4 part time members of staff. We are open 7 days a week and from 9am-9pm May-September Monday – Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sundays.

General background/history of the shop please

Opened in 2003 in this location opposite ferry terminal to Lewis (Outer Hebrides)

Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?

All genres stocked, specialties include: Scottish History, Scottish General and Scottish Highlands and Islands. We also have a large children’s area, maps, guides and a great greeting card area too.

Do you mainly sell new or second-hand books?

All new books.

What makes your bookshop special?

Open all year round 7 days a week, in the summer we open 9am-9pm 6 days a week and 10am-5pm on Sundays.

What’s the most surprising thing about being a bookseller?

No time to read books!

What is your preferred reading genre?

Fiction, biography, travel writing

Describe your store in three words.

Bright / Colourful / Interesting

What was your favourite childhood book? Why?

Little House on the Prairie by laura Ingells Wilder. Her journey captured my imagination and I loved to hear about the tales on the prairies. Great book to read aloud with kids too.

If you could invite any author for a book signing at your shop, who would you choose?

Only one author? Too hard a question by far! ….Peter May? Ian Rankin (he has been in already) or Katharine Stewart (which would be difficult
as she passed way but I would have loved to meet her in person and ask her about life as a crofter near Loch Ness.

Where do you think the biggest change in book publishing will come from?

If Supermarkets didn’t sell books at 1/2 price, that would help us all.

How do you choose the books you stock?

I know my customers and listen to them / read magazines and newspapers / read magazines from our distributors /

Name three books on your TBR

Ice Breaker by Horatio Clare / Close Call by Quintin Jardine and Travelling Light by Alastair Sawday

What are you reading at the moment?

Michael Dibdin: an Inspector Zen mystery and A Farmer’s Diary by Sally Unwin

What music, if any, do you play in your shop? Why?

No music, no facilities to play music

What is the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?

Christmas tree decoration in the shape of a pile of books.

What is the weirdest thing a customer has ever asked for?

Umm……too long a list to mention: bait? / a book on Scotland which was blue (you know the one right?!) /

What do you get up to in a normal bookselling day?

Rearranging books / ordering books / talking about books / promoting books

What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?

That they like the smell of the bookshop (in a good way).


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

The Second Shelf, London

The next shop in the Browse A Bookshop feature is The Second Shelf in Soho, one I’m so looking forward to visiting on my next visit to London.

The Second Shelf
14 Smiths Court,
London,
UK
W1D 7DW
Tel: 020 3490 2800

Website: https://thesecondshelf.com
Twitter: @secondshelfbks
Facebook: @thesecondshelf
Instagram: @secondshelfbooks

Opening hours:
Sunday – Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Thursday: 11-6

Friday – Saturday: 11-7

How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
The Second Shelf is a new bookshop of rare books, modern first editions, and rediscovered works by women, in London’s Soho. Named for a 2012 Meg Wolitzer essay published by The New York Times, it refers to the current condition where books by women are not collected and esteemed equally with their male contemporaries. The Second Shelf is a space for women to explore our own literary history and foster and care for our own legacies.

Do you mainly sell new or second-hand books?
Almost all of our books are rare books and modern first editions by women. Our oldest book at the moment is Les Dames Illustres, an early French feminist work and our newest book is a first edition of Toni Morrison’s Mouth Full of Blood. Our most popular books are from mid-twentieth century, but we also sell a lot of copies of the very contemporary Ache Magazine.

Describe your store in three words:
Pink, unpredictable, informed.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Camden Lock Books

Unfortunatley Camden Lock Books had to close down physically but still trades as an online bookshop.

The first bookshop to be featured on the ‘Browse A Bookshop’ feature is Camden Lock Books who can be found at:

Old Street Station
4 Saint Agnes Well
London EC1Y 1BE

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camdenlockbooks/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camdenlockbooks
Twitter: @CamdenLockBooks
Website: www.camdenlockbooks.co.uk
Telephone:(020) 7253 0666

Open between 8.30 am & 7.00 pm [GMT] Monday to Friday, and between 12.00 noon & 5.30 pm [GMT] Saturday. Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.

How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
My first bookshop in 1984 was called Lot 49 books (after Thomas Pynchon’s novel). But I renamed it Camden Lock Books after a year or so. We are not located in Camden Lock, but we are a bookshop (one out of three isn’t bad). We used to be in Camden Lock. If it’s not broken, why fix it? We kept our name when moving to Old Street Station, Islington.

Who are you? Owns the bookshop? Bit of a bio and pics, please
We are Jason Burley and his amazing dream cohort of booksellers. My working life started in two libraries and an auction house (University College-London, Institute of Mechanichal Engineers and Phillips). My subsequent and last employment was about 40 years ago with Francis Edwards Antiquarian Bookshop in Marylebone.

Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?
It was 1984 (good enough for George Orwell- a talismanic date for me). I was a bibliomane. If you love buying books, why not start your own bookshop? I had been a library assistant, an auctioneer’s cataloguer and finally a bookshop assistant- it all led to the same conclusion.

General background/history of the shop please
Our bookshop was built in the Beatles era (one of their last group photo shoots took part on our roof!). Until we converted the concrete shell with shelves made from cast off floor boards, it had been a Travel Agents (remember those!).

Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?
We are a general new literary bookshop with a specialisation in photographic, local history and fashion books. We also stock and sell collectable vintage and antique books, many of them online.

Do you mainly sell new or second-hand books?
New books are predominantly what we sell, but we supplement new book sales with secondhand and rare antique books.

What makes your bookshop special?
The staff, service and layout maintain generally great reviews. The books keep on changing, as we discover amazing new titles. So we are lucky enough to be running a little gem of a bookshop now.

What’s the hardest thing about being a bookseller?
It’s hard having to read Advance Proof copies of books by authors you can’t bear.

What’s the best thing about being a bookseller?
It’s bliss reading Advance Proof copies of author’s you love.

What’s the most surprising thing about being a bookseller?
How many people seem to imply they would like to swap their job for yours, and yet independent bookshops are not massively proliferating.

What are the goals for your bookshop?
We provide a natural habitat for all species of book browsers. Our aim is simple, to make the experience of as many visitors as possible, an enjoyable one. And, by extension, for our employees to enjoy working here.

Do you think owning a bookshop has changed your life? How?
My whole identity has become subsumed by being a bookshop owner. I am my bookshop.

What book do you wish would sell better?
I wish that every book heavily discounted by Amazon and the supermarkets, sold better in all independent bookshops. But that is never going to happen.

What little-known book do you think is underrated?
Death on Credit by Louis-Ferdinand Celine is not by any means unknown. But it is underrated, in my view.

What well-known book do you think is overrated?
I read the Harry Potter books aloud to my kids and, although well received, I didn’t think they were well written.

What is your preferred reading genre?
Literary fiction or non-fiction if it concerns the book trade.

Describe your store in three words.
Cave of wonders.

What book is your greatest treasure? Why?
OMA are one of the most influential architects today. My greatest treasure is their submission to build the new Tate Modern in 1995, it is one of just 35 copies ever printed. https://tinyurl.com/y696ysp6

What was your favourite childhood book? Why?
The Hobbit opened up the long journey into reading literary fiction, that I’m still on.

If you could invite any author for a book signing at your shop, who would you choose?
Sally Rooney. I want to hear about what she’s writing now.

How do you reach potential readers/customers?
Twitter. @CamdenLockBooks

What are you reading at the moment?
In the Distance by Hernan Diaz

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from selling books?
We are all different people who appreciate reading different books.

What is the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?
Every Easter, as a child, my parents would allow me to choose a new book as an annual treat.

What is the weirdest thing a customer has ever asked for?
Balloons. That is not what I would expect to find in a bookshop.

What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?
“Love you”. Well, I sometimes sell books to my partner.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.