Thursday, 4 February 2016

The booksellers lot, some thoughts about books and art.

I went to the town of Deal today, too much book buying for anything other than a quick sketch over my lunch.

A couple of very different art related books, the Donald McGill book Wish you Were Here about the art of the saucy postcard artist

And the travel book by Chaing Yee with the marvellous Chinese sketches of London.

I haven’t had much time to paint and draw in the last couple of weeks and as I have said before this isn’t like riding a bicycle, where one you can do it – you can do it, with sketching any skill soon starts to drain away without constant practice.

Anyway authors are I think fair game so some sketches from     

The tenner is for scale and as you see most things eventually improved although not the noses 
and this wonderful title particularly amuses me as at 15 I had a very serious Indian dormitory captain who read us excerpts from Dale Carnegie  

Our recent books going out on the shelves in the bookshop here in Ramsgate as ever at  


  1. Possibly a silly question that you'll not want to answer, Michael, but can you really make enough money from buying books from other bookshops around Kent which you then sell in Ramsgate to pay for all these lunches? Or maybe I'm misunderstanding where you are getting the books from..

  2. Joe, not a silly question but not an easy answer either. I don’t think many bookshops make much in the way of profit, the Waterstones chain, for instance, has been effectively subsidised by Alexander Mamut although I think the ultimate objective there may be to make a profit.

    I have spent about forty years of my life as a bookseller, my family had a chain of bookshops in Hertfordshire in the days before out of town shopping, big chain retailers, the internet, Kindle and the end of the net book agreement and at times bookselling has been fairly profitable.

    Now I expect you will agree there isn’t much left in terms of useful bookshops, by useful I mean a bookshop where you can have a productive browse and the buy a book or some books at a competitive price. I don’t think going to Waterstones, browsing the books, opening the Amazon app on your phone, pointing the camera at the barcode and pressing the buy it now button, really ticks the boxes.

    Anyway all that said my primary objective within the constraints of the world we live in now, is to get as close as I can to having a bookshop that fulfils the useful bit, profit is a secondary objective, which I often don’t achieve.


Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.