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The Diary of a Bookseller Audiobook

The Diary of a Bookseller

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Publisher's Summary

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff.

He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

©2017 Shaun Bythell (P)2017 W. F. Howes Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Funny, sharp, observant and warm - the perfect introduction to the joys and horrors of running a bookshop." (The Bookseller)

"Funny and fascinating in equal measure." (Anthony McGowan)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (80 )
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4.7 (75 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rachel Redford 30/11/2017
    Rachel Redford 30/11/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't miss this one-off treasure!"


    I loved this book. Shaun Bethyll has owned and run Scotland’s largest second hand book shop in Wigtown on the coast of Galloway for 14 years. He’s wildly and wonderfully idiosyncratic, driven by passion and prodigious energy as he travels all over buying up books (some harrowing visits looking through the treasured collections of those forced by age or bereavement to downsize when he feels he’s ‘erasing all they were’); organising the essential online sales, the Random Book Club as well as the now very successful Wigtown Book Festival – and dealing with the daily flow (frequently only the slightest trickle) of customers whose eccentricities and downright rudeness Bethyll makes hugely entertaining.

    “When are ye having the bonfire?” asks one offensively; others constantly haggle over the price, stalk off angrily when refused a huge discount; are convinced that their bag of old books fit only for re-cycling are worth good money; only want something if it’s free, whilst some even pencil in a low price whilst amongst the stacks and then present it for payment. They spend hours reading a heap of books from the shelves by the fire, only to leave at closing time having bought nothing and leaving the books to be re-shelved. One man left his false teeth balanced on Tommy Blair’s Autobiography.(Was he making some kind of statement?)

    I’m going to miss Bythell’s eccentric right-hand woman Nicky who is usually late (on occasion delayed by dropping an éclair on herself whilst driving) and rarely does what is asked of her. Every ‘Foodie Friday’ she comes with a bag of ‘delicacies’ from the supermarket skip, warning Bythell off one particular nauseating lump of cinnamon swirl because she’d already licked the icing off it

    Bythell’s caustic wit (never cruel or judgemental, just sharply observant) is an absolute joy, but there’s a very serious and sometimes angry side to it all in the sheer grind of keeping a bookshop as splendid as this one going in this age of online sales. (His framed smashed Kindle on the wall is much admired by customers). It’s seen in his daily modest totals of ‘online sales’; ‘books found’; ‘till takings’ recorded throughout the year of this diary, and in the necessity for selling the odd no-longer needed local disability scooter or commode alongside the books; and no less in his painful back which is the result of lugging 1000s of books around. The experience of the customer from Kent’s joy at finding an old Latin Primer with his father’s schoolboy’s name in it was uplifting (Bythell gave it him free).

    I loved the Scottishness of it, the Scots cadences and language so well created by Robin Laing; the isolated position of Wigtown, Bythell’s inclusion of the weather (significant when the cold whistles through the book stacks); his appreciation of his salmon fishing and October sea-swimming. Pure pleasure – get listening!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Booklover 01/12/2017
    Booklover 01/12/2017 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "First time I've reviewed a title before it's ended"
    What did you like most about The Diary of a Bookseller?

    The wonderfully honest approach is constantly witty. It does help that I run a bookshop though.


    What other book might you compare The Diary of a Bookseller to, and why?

    I've not heard another book like this.


    Which character – as performed by Robin Laing – was your favourite?

    His voice comes over wonderfully well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    It might be of limited interest but anyone who has had to deal with those of "the dark side" (Amazon Sellers) will enjoy this tremendously!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhiannon 01/01/2018
    Rhiannon 01/01/2018 Member Since 2014
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    "fantastic "

    I love this book and can't recommend it enough.
    It's incredibly witty and inspirational (although realistic) for people like me who are interested in working for themselves one day.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ms Montaigu de quercy, France 18/12/2017
    Ms Montaigu de quercy, France 18/12/2017 Member Since 2013
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    "first class in every respect"

    What a superb book .
    I know Shaun dislikes spoken books but I think there is room for audio and paper books .
    Secondhand bookshops are among the treasures of the world and the story of the Wigtown bookshop is wonderful . I hope to visit it on my next trip home to Scotland

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flint 11/12/2017
    Flint 11/12/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A gentle pleasure"

    I listened to this at a difficult and chaotic time in my life and I found it very enjoyable. A gentle book, which has a magic that is hard to explain. It really is a diary with no particular plot, but the little glimpses of daily life and pen pictures of staff and customers make this book memorable. I really enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James fox 19/11/2017
    James fox 19/11/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "brilliant"

    actually bought a few books on audible because they were mentioned in this book :-)

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann D Newcastle, England 16/12/2017
    Ann D Newcastle, England 16/12/2017 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Okay!"

    If I had paid for this book, I would have returned it a few chapters in. However, it was my second choice in a two for one offer. It’s essentially a monthly diary. Each chapter begins with the name of the month, and takings, book sold and bought are including. Otherwise, it is the soporific musings of an intolerant little man, who doesn’t like, or respect people very much. There are some insights into the workings of the Amazon corporation and it’s effects upon bookshops. It proved fine to fall asleep too, but I couldn’t have listened to it during the day.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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