I just love book plots that are set in a bookshop. There is something special and charming in it or maybe it’s just me who was fascinated of the idea to have my own one (I blame the movie You’ve got an email with Meg Ryan). Since I watched this movie when I was young I’ve always wanted to own a bookshop like the one Kathleen has in the movie.
Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotlands largest second-hand bookshop. 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. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.
The book is in a diary format. Shaun Bythhell describes what is like to have a bookshop, it appears to be not as idyllic as I thought. The customers, the staff, the everyday struggles … pretty much everything is represented in the book.
Some days are hilarious – strange people with awkward requests will appear. It might be hard to stop laughing while reading it and Shaun’s sense of humour delivers pure amusement.
Whilst sharing hilarious stories with us, he also gives us an insight of the struggles of a bookshop owner nowadays. It’s not easy for an independent bookshop to make a profit when there are giants on the market like Amazon. Bythell shares with us facts about how online retailers might be the huge “enemy” for our local booksellers.
Although it was interesting for me to gain more information about what is like to have a bookshop, I have to say that I was expecting a bit more from the book. It is a light read but what I specifically didn’t enjoy that much was the repeating elements which seem to appear a lot more than necessary (like the negative impact of Amazon) and sometimes I couldn’t really agree with Shaun’s comments about some of his staff or customers behaviour, they were too harsh for me I would say.
About The Author
Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town, and also one of the organisers of the Wigtown Festival.
The Diary of a Bookseller is his debut book.