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How on Earth Do You Choose Which Books to Stock?

How on Earth Do You Choose Which Books to Stock?

I mean, where do you even start? I won’t have a huge amount of shelf space in my temporary home as a pop-up bookshop and so my stock needs to be extremely well-curated. And actually, this problem gave me an idea.

With so much choice, it is no wonder that we prefer people to make it easier for us, and look, I’m a writer saying that, someone whose entire day revolves around books, so how must the average consumer feel?

But I couldn’t just stock the books I read – there would be a LOT of Deborah Levy (fans will be pleased to know there still is) – and how would it be possible to make myself an expert in every genre in a matter of weeks? Answer: it wouldn’t.

And so I knew I needed to ask for help, help that would be a unique selling point of my bookstore. After all, where do I get my book recommendations from? My author friends. It is between us that we pass books around and press them into one anothers’ hands, they are often the experts in their genre, and so it seemed sensible to me to ask them what books they felt customers in my store must read.

They might be books to persuade you to enter a certain genre, they might be brilliant finds that even a well-read person in that genre might have passed by, they are the books we keep coming back to as writers, guarding them on our bedside tables, and they are the ones that we have bought time and again for our friends. Surely these would be the ones that readers needed to know about?

So over the next few weeks, you will hear from some brilliant authors: Music journalist and author Ian Winwood picks in the music genre; debut author Karen Angelico chooses four brilliant books on love and relationships; Marc Hamer tells us the books he feels capture the flow of nature; Jennifer Saint reveals her best books to read in the Greek myth genre; poet Sarah Salway creates a list from short story collections; Debora Robertson tells us the cookbooks that we can’t live without (great for Christmas present ideas). And many more besides, including of course, my own recommendations.

I have recorded video interviews with all of the authors who will talk through their lists, and you will even get 10% off when you buy the entire curation (don’t worry, they’re paperbacks, but I challenge you to pick one once you’ve heard their persuasive arguments – I can’t!).

As far as I know this is the first bookshop opened and curated by an author, with its selection of books picked solely by authors themselves. I’m hoping it will help readers better navigate genres, or even have the confidence to try a genre they might not ordinarily.

I have loved interviewing writers about the books that have captured their hearts and I can’t wait to share their recommendations with you. The only problem for me has been the fact that I have wanted to read their lists immediately, and there is still so much to get ready for my grand opening this weekend.

Later this week I’ll reveal the location and, with any luck, let you take a peak at my website. But just know that behind the scenes, I am painting, stocktaking, ordering stickers, stationary, and learning about window dressing at a frantic pace.

Speaking of which, here is a sneak peak of the window I will be dressing. Isn’t it lovely? Imagine it in a week’s time, packed with books!

More soon…



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