Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2 out of 3 ain't bad

They say that the three most stressful things that can happen in your life are the death of someone close, moving house and getting a divorce. As I'm not married and by a process of elimination, I can tell you that 2 of those events have happened within six weeks of each other. Compounded by me having to move this weekend. That wouldn't be so bad except Matthew is in Brussels meaning I have to look after the shop friday and saturday then move sunday, monday. Phew.

Today was particularly stressful as we also heard that one of our former bookshops, a very prominent indie, will be closing in January that will inevitably prompt loads of guff in the papers about doom and gloom in the independent book trade. (I'm not breaking any confidences there as the news is already up on the Bookseller website - but the reasons for closing are far from people not buying books but more to do with those idiots at Macmillan and naked greed).

Anyway, moan moan moan but before you break out the kleenex and violins for poor old me my spirits have been instantly lifted by stopping and listening to a rasta playing Gershwin's 'Summertime' on a plastic saxophone outside woolies on Denmark Hill. Oh sweet joys!

And atleast I get to go to Munich next weekend to stay with my ex-girlfriend and her new husband. What could go wrong there!


  1. Very sad news about Pan.

    I second your advance ire over all the column inches we will have to read about how hard it is to operate an independent bookshop these days.

    I look forward to Daunt or someone else with bucks setting up a shop half the size in the same area and making shedloads of cash.

    Or we'll do it ourselves if there's a rich patron out there willing to back us...

  2. My best wishes.

    Good luck on the move.

    You can always make a fool of yourself in one of those Bavarian beer halls. No one will notice.

    Other than your ex's new husband, who will undoubtedly be watching your every move and wondering why his wife stayed with you for as long as she did. Either that or, why did she ever leave you.

  3. 'Parent Macmillan blamed "tough market conditions, a decline in the overall trading of independent bookshops combined with an expensive high street location in Chelsea" for the closure.'

    Um, aren't sales in indies actually going *up*?

  4. Just make sure and wear bright clothes and a woolly hat in Munich, and say "innit?" every now and then.

    We ladies tend to go for the same type time and time again- that way she'll be able to tell the difference between you and the hubbie!!


  5. That fella plays his saxophone up here too. Sweet joys indeed. Did he have the dog dressed up as a policeman?

    Perhaps he should have been playing it on the Fulham rd.

  6. I didn't think that the purpose of the Pan Bookshop was to make a profit - it was a high profile high street presence for Macmillan. Or perhaps it stayed open because Richard Charkin was an old softy.

    See our latest post about the QI Bookshop in Oxford...

  7. Hi Mark,

    QI was always a bit of an odd one.

    More nails in our coffins eh?

    See next post...

  8. A word from our inside man...

    On the day the announcement was made about Pan I got an e-mail exclaiming that the last sale through the till at 5.30 pm on a wednesday evening was for over £200

    In my experience there sales of 2, 3 and 400 per customer were far from uncommon. How is it possible that in an area where people are desparate to spend their huge wedges of wonga that you can't run a profitable bookshop?

    The blame has to go to management, not necessarily in the shop but from the top. I actually think that Charkin (before he left) and David Mac were just dying to get rid of the place for ages and they finally got what they wanted. Shame on their houses (erm, villas in the south of France...) and those comments from David Mac in the Bookseller piece were absolutely shameful and untrue.

  9. Close Pan, open a new and smaller shop in roughly the same spot but this time design it so it looks beautiful.

    Have half the number of staff and a lot less stock.

    Watch the wonga pile up. We'll do it if someone out there has the money...Or watch JD do it?

  10. The Bookseller bit cleverly made it seem like it was all about rents and all that, when any fule kno that Macmillan own the site. they obviously just want to lease it to a Tesco Extra or another branch of Posh Clothes R Us for a mint, and rid themselves of the hassle of having a bookshop. Maybe they are embarrassed about having the evidence of their pisspoor publishing on display with their name over the door.