Posts Tagged ‘One Tree Books’

What’s gone wrong with our bookshops?

October 8, 2011

It used to be a pleasure walking into a bookshop. I would be spoilt for choice. The number of books in my house is testimony to that.

Sadly not anymore. I walk into a bookshop and walk out depressed.

In the last five years we have lost a quarter of our independent bookshops.

A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

They are subject to unfair competition when publishers offer their rivals massive discounts which are not available to them.

Jamie’s Great Britain, cover price £30, is on offer at Sainsbury’s at £9.99. A price that even Waterstone’s cannot match, where it is on offer at half price, ie £15.

But that is not the only problem. It is as though they have given up. Maybe they have.

A couple of weeks ago I visited One Tree Books in Petersfield, Independent Bookshop of the Year 2010, official bookseller Guildford Book Festival 2011. I was singularly unimpressed. I asked for Aleph by Paulo Coelho. They had not a clue what I was talking about. I had to spell it twice in order that they could look it up.

Afternoon in Petersfield
A day in the life of an independent bookshop

Yesterday I visited The Haslemere Book Shop, an independent bookshop in Haslemere. It seems all the shops in Haslemere close at 5 o’clock, I got there just gone five. As if on cue, it chucked it down with rain. Sheltering in the rain I noticed the window display was very drab and uninspiring. Looking in through the window, the shop was closed, it looked equally drab and uninspiring inside.

The Haslemere Book Shop, Surrey

A helpful lady came out and asked could she help, that the shop was open in the morning. I asked for Aleph. She had not a clue what I was talking about. Aleph by Paulo Coelho. She asked that I spell it, twice. A-l-e-p-h, same as first character of Hebrew Alphabet. She popped back in the shop and asked. No, they did not have.

As she was helpful, I wrote out for her details of the book and source of further information. I explained to her that Aleph was a worldwide bestseller, that Paulo Coelho was a well known writer, that Aleph was worth reading. I suggested she contact HarperCollinsUK for promotional material and that she had Aleph on display in the window.

With Aleph the fault lies with HarperCollinsUK, they have failed to alert bookshops. But, on the other hand, whatever the failings of HarperCollinsUK, I do expect bookshops to know about books. I expect them to know of international bestsellers, I expect them to know when a writer like Paulo Coelho has a new book out.

HarperCollinsUK you should be embarrassed!
Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

Aleph was published in UK 1 September 2011. In every country bar UK, it has shot to No1 within days of publication. What does this say about UK?

Have they given up? That at least is the impression I am being given. They have probabably looked at the books, seen the end is nigh, that there is little can be done and are now waiting for the axe to fall.

HarperCollinsUK you should be embarrassed!

September 20, 2011

Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper. — Francis Bacon

Last week we forgot to mention Paulo Coelho’s brilliant new book Aleph. — HarperCollinsUK

HarperCollinsUK can you hear us? Aleph needs a better launch. — Paulo Coelho

Any publisher would have done a better job than HarperCollinsUK with the distribution and marketing of Aleph. — Priya Sher

Let’s wait and see if HarperCollinsUK is aware that they are the publishers of Aleph in England. — Paulo Coelho

How could HarperCollinsUK have forgot that Paulo Coelho had a new book Aleph out on the first of this month? But forget they did.

Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

Is Paulo Coelho the only person whose phone News Corp has not hacked?

How can a publisher forget that one of their most important writers has a new book out? A writer most publishers would be fighting tooth and nail to sign.

How could a publisher forget a book that has proved to be an international best-seller?

Go into most bookshops and you will be very lucky to find Aleph on display. I thought this problem was resticted to Waterstone’s that is was simply an illustration of their low pay staff on minimum wages. Yesterday I found not so.

I visted One Tree Books in Petersfield, selected as official bookseller to the Guildford Bookfestival 2011, Independent Bookshop of the Year 2010. It was depressing. They did not have a clue what was Aleph. I had to spell it for them twice. They had a copy they said, after looking it up on their computer system. It goes without saying no window display, no in store display. They told me yes, they know who Paul Colelho was, they had a selection of his books. Not true. They had a single copy of The Alchemist. As for the Aleph which their system told them they had a single copy, they did not know where it was.

In Istanbul I found Elif on display in every single bookshop. They knew what it was, who the author was. Probably explains why it was No One within days of publication.

This failure of bookshops not to know of the existence of an international best-seller is in part a reflection of the bookshops themselves, but it also has to be down to the publisher Harper Collins UK failing to ensure they know.

Aleph is No One in all countries of publication, bar one, UK. Could this be because the publisher HarperCollinsUK forgot to tell the bookshops?

Maybe News Corp has more important matters to deal with, like how to keep the Murdochs out of prison.

HarerCollinsUK is owned by News Corp.