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Orders are the Lifeblood of an Indie Bookshop

Orders are the Lifeblood of an Indie Bookshop

Last week, a lady came into my pop up and asked me if, when I eventually get my own permanent bookshop, I would be serving coffee. She explained to me that due to her eyesight, she finds it easier to read on Kindle these days, but still wanted to enjoy the experience of supporting – and hanging out in – an independent bookshop, but felt she must pay for the privilege, and if I served coffee that would allow her to do that.

I told her that I do actually have plans to serve coffee (and cake!). I was thinking coffee and cake in the mornings, wine and cheese in the afternoon/evenings (I must add getting a licence to my list of things to do). There is a cheesemonger opposite The Bloom Foundry (55 St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9TP) where I have my pop up now, and I’ve already been to introduce myself to him and suggest a collaboration at sometime. Cross-pollination is, after all, vital for a thriving community.

I was so excited, I ordered her books straight away (which was a good job as there was only one copy left at the wholesalers of one or two of them), and even as I drifted off to sleep that night I was still feel all warm and fuzzy inside that people were starting to use The Book Room as I had intended.

I wonder if Jeff Bezos has that same warm and fuzzy feeling as he drifts off in his dollar-bill wallpapered bedroom when someone orders their Christmas books from Amazon…?

I imagine Mr Bezos and Mr Krabs have much in common

There are three reasons why orders are so vital to indie bookshops, and particular start ups like me.

  1. Because it means your community believes in you, and you cannot put a price on that feeling and how brave it makes you feel to continue.
  2. Because it is not always possible to sustain a business these days from footfall alone and so orders and the web side of your company are often what you need to pay the rent.
  3. Because there is a minimum order necessary each day to be able to order from the wholesaler and make good on your promise to other customers that you can have their book instore within 24-48 hours (something vital if you wish to persuade them away from their habit of supporting Mr Bezos), and so a person who walks into the shop with an order for just one book gets to piggy back on those other orders, and there is more likelihood of making them happy and, therefore, a repeat customer.

This lady’s order should be arriving today, and I am as excited as if these books were for me – to be fair I feel like that when I open every order, it is a curse of loving books.

My website is just days away from completion now, and so please do consider using it when it launches (I will, of course, share details), or email me orders and I would be delighted to process them for you. I even have a fancy email address now:

Until next time…



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