Books on Shelves

Back in 2004, Chris Anderson wrote a piece for Wired magazine on the Long Tail. In an age of online retailing, your shop space becomes effectively unlimited so anything and everything can be made available for sale that way. Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London can be bought on the web from all manner of retailers, but over the weekend I took to the high street to see how widely it was available there.

Hatchards new fiction display

Hatchards new fiction display

Hatchards on Piccadilly had half a dozen copies of Johnny out on a table displaying new children’s books. As a writer you don’t travel anywhere without favourite pens for jotting down the flash of inspiration that arrives when you least expect it, so at the invitation of the shop I was able to whisk it out and add my moniker to the title page of each edition.

Books Etc Broadgate Circle

Books Etc Broadgate Circle

I was delighted to find two copies of Johnny in Broadgate Circle’s Books Etc. In Chapter 2 Johnny travels through Liverpool St Station so it’s lovely that other people can also read about him there.

Blackwell Tottenham Court Road

Blackwell Charring Cross Road

Blackwell on Charring Cross Road also had two copies in their Children’s Hardback Fiction section. This area is the unofficial bookselling centre of London so a big thank you to the store for making it available in the very heart of London’s book traders.

Waterstones Piccadilly

Waterstone's Piccadilly

Last, but absolutely not least, thank you to those lovely people at Waterstone’s who had a display of eight on the shelves of their flagship Piccadilly store and also four at the Gower Street branch (which, again, I was asked to sign). On publication day itself, I saw that there were a couple of copies at the Leadenhall Market branch, but the first shop I went into this time, on New Street near Covent Garden, is quite a small one. Without me having to do it myself to try to get my book noticed, there was Johnny Mackintosh already facing out on the shelves attracting attention with its beautiful cover. Over-excited, I went up to the Bookseller and thanked him, at which point he asked me to sign the copy. He was still busy placing the sticker on the front cover when a particularly discerning customer came along and bought it off him.

Waterstones New Row

Waterstone's New Row

Waterstones Gower Street

Waterstone's Gower Street

It wasn’t all great news, but of course it’s very early days. Hopefully, Borders, Foyles and WH Smith (who have three outlets in Liverpool St Station) will be stocking up soon, and it is wonderful to know there are copies available out there if people do want to buy them. It’s not just London either – friends scattered around the country are also reporting Johnny Mackintosh sightings.

If you do go into a bookshop and can’t see the book on the shelves, please ask behind the counter for it. The more often people hear the name, the more likely they are to start stocking up. And if you let me know, I promise I’ll sent lots of badges as a reward.

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~ by keithmansfield on July 7, 2008.

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