Thursday, 31 March 2016

Folkestone, bookshops and bookselling a few sketches and a bit of a ramble.

We went to Folkestone today as my bookshop in Ramsgate is closed and apart from buying books for myself and for my bookshop I like to keep tabs on the other bookshops in Kent.

First stop was for a cuppa in The Chambers and a very quick sketch, about 4 inches square, took about 15 mins.

Much of this is about keeping my own bookshop up to scratch and my own bookshop I think is best described as a fairly large predominately secondhand bookshop.

The main bookshop in Folkestone Marrin’s is predominantly antiquarian the photographs of Marrin’s should help. They will expand if you click on them.

I would say that the nearest to describing my bookshop would be a similar stock to a big Waterstones like the one in Canterbury but with the books around a quarter of the prices.

Marrin’s is very different inasmuch as the majority of the books on the shelves are over a hundred years old.

Anyway I bought some books there and had an enjoyable time.

Next stop was the Oxfam bookshop, where I also bought some books and had a pleasant time. No real need to describe Oxfam bookshops, it’s a bit like the one in Canterbury and a bit like the one in Deal.

On to Googies for a burger and another very quick sketch.

Then to The Bookshop in Guildhall Street, this is all modern popular paperbacks £2 each or three for £5, I got my fivers worth.

Next a few photos of Folkestone.

I have been working away on the military books in my bookshop for the past couple of days, this is rather like the pruning and weeding that one does in the garden to produce a good crop of blooms or fruit.

The last time I did this to the military section was about two and a half years ago and then what I did was to look all of the books up on Amazon, cross out the price pencilled in them if it was higher than the Amazon and write in a price lower than the Amazon price.

This time evaluating book prices online is a minefield of poor feedback ratings, books with library stamps but no mention of whether they also have cancellation stamps proving they haven’t been stolen.

Evaluating the cheapest copy of the book you would actually buy takes ages for me, I wouldn’t buy from a seller with less than 98% good feedback, wouldn’t buy a second hand book where the description is a paste in saying may have umpteen faults, so it is obvious that the seller hasn’t looked at it properly.

This time it’s a mixture of, looking the book up online, looking at how long it has been sitting on the shelf, deciding if it is the type of book that has been replaced by a website like wikipedia or a book that falls into a non seller bracket.

The result of this process will be that something around 15% of the books in the military section will have their prices written down to less than a pound and sold off in a sale. At the same time another around 15% will get their prices reduced to make them compete with the internet.

The alternative i.e. leaving the books on the shelves alone, means that eventually all of the books in the bookshop become unsaleable, leaving no space for the books I buy in.

It is a no brainer really, even if you are a very experienced bookseller about 10% of what you buy will turn out either not to sell, or not to sell for the price you first put on it. This means that if you put out 100 books 10 will still be there when you put out another 100 books so then you will have 20 unsaleable books on you shelves and so on.

So these are pictures of some of the books now priced at less than £1

and these are pictures of some of the military books left after the pruning.

Unless you collect military books you will probably find it difficult to tell the difference.

I haven’t got much done on the sketching front because of being busy with my bookshop, I am still working up to doing my inside and outside pictures of cafés so have been messing about with interiors as well of exteriors of buildings.  

 This is a bit of the inside of The Mechanical Elephant in Margate

 This is looking out of the window in Chocolate Cafe in Canterbury I hope to add some inside to the left of the paper when I go there next time.

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