Art shows in the bookshop

What we’ve been up to at Blarney Books…

Minnie's Mission by Emily McCormack

Well, we do seem to be becoming a rather busy little bookshop these days, and some of it isn’t even about books! Our art side of the shop seems to have been taking up a lot of our time lately, but in the weeks ahead we do have a few more literary events on. We still have our 2010 Biblio-Art Exhibition running (it finishes up on the 6th of September), and it is all on-line for people to browse as well. We have also put up short video clips of the opening night, and interviews with the winning artists(see below). All great fun indeed! The exhibition has been very popular and we’ve had a fair amount of media coverage too. Which means that more people have been through our shop this winter than in the previous five winters we’ve been open.

Tomorrow, we are putting on a play – a theatre group actually approached us to put it on in the space we have, because they loved the atmosphere of the shop. That’s wonderful to hear! I haven’t personally seen this play before, although it has been touring around for some time, and getting high praise in reviews. It’s a one-hour four-person play based around the life of Sylvia Plath, so very literary indeed. Of course, I have a table of Plath-related books set up, we have 45 booked so far to come and see it, and we are putting on a light afternoon tea afterwards. All for $20 a head. Hopefully it will be just the ticket for a cold wet Port Fairy Sunday afternoon!

The following weekend we have a local author, Paul Burman, launching his second novel (being published in the UK) “The Grease Monkey’s Tale”. His previous novel, “The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore” received wonderful reviews, so we are looking forward to this one! For the launch, we put on wine & nibbles, signed books are of course available, and we have another author of some repute, Dmetri Kakmi, doing the introductions! We hope for strong attendance and support – it’s not every day we can launch a local author!

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Any problem areas in your bookshop?

Back on Board & Discussing Problem Areas

Well, yes, I’ve been very quiet of late, and I do apologise.  I haven’t even had time to look at The Bookshop Blog for the past month.  We’ve just passed through the busiest time of the year here in town, and now I’m all about replenishing titles at the moment, so it’s back to the hunt for me.  I had some good luck through January, with a couple of good lots come in through the shop, which kept the stock fresh and moving.  I seem to be staying on top of most areas on the whole – there was for a time over November and December I felt I was buying more books than I was selling – but there are sections I struggle to keep up with.

Do other booksellers have these persistent problem areas?

Science Fiction
How do you keep science fiction stocked?  I find that when my science fiction titles sell, they don’t sell one by one, butGun With Music practically by the metre!  And I find it very difficult to source ‘fresh’ sci-fi/fantasy titles.  Does anyone have a practical suggestion for an Australian bookseller?  I heard from another bookseller the other day that she had a competitor in her shop (and there is an unwritten bookseller’s ‘code’ that we sell books to one another at 10% off) trying to purchase her collection of Dr Who novels.  She actually refused the other bookseller, on the grounds that they are hard to find, hard to keep on the shelf, and to sell them for 10% off when she could easily sell them to the summer tourists would seem like a poor business decision!

Science fiction/fantasy readers seem to collect and continue collecting.  They don’t seem to trade their books in, or sell them.  I assume there are plenty of bookshops out there who simply don’t stock sci-fi/fantasy, but I feel that as this is often an adolescent market I’d like to keep the genre, in the hope that I’m encouraging younger folk in.

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Considering a Facelift at Blarney Books, Port Fairy

We have been asking ourselves this question for the last five years, but I think we are reaching the decision that we probably should.  The front of our building isn’t very welcoming, looking more like a book warehouse than a character-filled secondhand bookshop.  We have a problem in that council doesn’t want us to change … Read more