Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Bookshop A Day #15: The Ullapool Bookshop, Scotland

On the run up to release of The Bookshop Book on the 2nd October, I'm going to be blogging about a bookshop every day to celebrate wonderful bookshops and booksellers all around the world. (#bookshopaday). Today I want to tell you about:

The Ullapool Bookshop, Scotland

I had a chat with Katharine, who works there. 

Hi Katharine! Where can we find you?

The Ullapool Bookshop is situated in North West Scotland, only 55 miles from Inverness. Ullapool is a small village and is the main port for the Outer Hebrides. Ullapool has its own Book Festival annually in May and the Ullapool Bookshop is open 7 days a week all year round.

Describe your bookshop in three words.

Bright, airy and eye-catching.

What’s going to catch our eye as soon as we walk through the door?

Each section is labeled clearly, with display tables showing local interest books, new fiction and Non-fiction titles. Also our staff always endeavour to greet customers too, so a warm welcome always awaits. Although the entrance area to the shops is quite small, inside it is surprisingly spacious inside.

What’s the best event you’ve ever done?

As we are a small bookshop, events are quite hard to accommodate. However, we do receive quite a few passing visits from authors who have stopped by, including: Ian Rankin, to Louise Welsh (New Honorary Chairman of Ullapool Book Festival), from Zoe Strachan, to Matthew Zajac and including a Poet touring Scotland on a bike! A diverse mix of visitors in only the past twelve months!

And your best customer moment?

There are many probably every day, and all 4 of us who work in the Bookshop, probably have many different moments to tell. However, for me, it is lovely to help customers to find a book and we love talking about books. Recently, I was asked for help recommending books for first an 8 year old boy, then for his 11 year old sister. Once they had chosen books, another customer came over and said how lovely it was to hear me talk about books and how totally in tune these kids seemed to be with my suggestions. That was a lovely moment for me.

Recommend a book you’ve been loving recently.

I read fiction widely, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May. However, a new travel book by Guy Grieve called ‘Sea Legs’ journeying with his very young family on a yacht from Venezuela to the Isle of Mull, is enthralling me at the moment. His descriptions are very vivid and as a reader, you seem to be with them at all times and through all their ups and downs.

Why did you become a bookseller?

Really by chance, although I have always loved books and talking about books too. As well as working in a Bookshop, I also run my own small business distributing Classical CDs throughout the UK. Through this I got talking about books in the Bookshop, and eventually ended up working part time in the Ullapool Bookshop as well. I am very lucky to have both of my main interests and passions (books and music) both being my work. How lucky am I!

Why are you still a bookseller?

I love all things book-related really, I like also working with people and enjoy the discussions that we can have in a bookshop on a daily basis. For me my book selling career is very young, I’ve only been a bookseller for nearly 3 years, so I still have lots and lots to learn, which is exciting!

If you could open a bookshop anywhere else in the world, where would you open it and why?

I would open a shop anywhere really, as long as it was an independent Bookshop. I think it is so important to keep independent bookshops and in particular to retain independent shops at the forefront of our lives. Bookshops always contain much more than just books, they are an integral part of all of our lives.

Sum up what books and bookshops mean to you in one sentence.

Books (and I can also include Music?), really mean everything to me, with the journeys they can take you, the friends that you can make and also the tales that they both can tell.


Details of The Bookshop Book are 
here. You can pre-order signed copies (shipping worldwide) here

1 comment:

  1. I spent and unscheduled night in Ullapool about ten years ago when we got a puncture. It's a lovely little place and I'll be sure to stop in to the bookshop next time I'm up that way. :-)