With the London Bookfair looming large we're all hands at the pump to get our new catalogue out - should be here in plenty of time . . .
and part of the marketing job is of course to find people to send it to. Which would be easy one would have thought, because we keep a list of all the previous mailings and have been adding to them over the years. Especially given that that extra special modern classics catalogue we did last time only came out six months ago. Everything would have to be up to date, no?
No. Seems a couple of files have disappeared, important ones. So we're starting again from scratch. Which is fun, actually, as it means that we get to look for bookshops all over the country once again, and heartening because there are so many of them. Small independent bookshops - they were supposed to be as out of fashion as the Net Book Agreement. It's great to hear that they're not - and as Scott Pack (ex big buyer of Waterstones now at a fascinating new publishing project ) pointed out in his blog recently, increasing their market share.
Doubly heartening becuase of all the doom and gloom we're hearing about chain bookshops recently. Now, large branded bookshops will always be the lifeblood of publishers, especially smaller ones, because of the incredible service that they provide. There is no other high street store that can offer such wealth of choice and potentially different experience after the point of puchase. (does that make sense? Why are you writing like a business student? ed.) A good independent bookshop should be looking to provide (If it hadn't been for me you'd have used the word 'provide' three times by now, buy a thesaurus! ed.) a slightly different service - one tailored to suit the tastes of the owner and needs of their customers. A really good deli rather than a supermaket, I think most people are happy to shop at both?
Anyway,it's a lot of fun phoning all these shops, is the point.