Working in Soho now…

Just an update from your friendly neighbourhood wannabe writer.

The bookshop I work at recently shut down, which kinda sucked because in the six months I had been there I had doubled revenue.  Okay, granted a nearby bookstore closed down and that had SOME effect, but before I started working there they had no graphic novels, no science fiction, no fantasy.  That’s crime enough, but in their regular fiction they didn’t have any Umberto Eco, Elmore Leonard, Kurt Vonnegut, Bill Bryson, Michael Chriton, not to mention plenty of classics that really deserved attention.

So in short time I had arranged for three shelves of SF/F, a stand for graphic novels, ordered a nice variety of books from the aforementioned authors, and expanded the classics to included a couple of everyone (we get the Wordsworths ones, they’re ultra-cheap, like £1.99, but nobody wants to buy Jane Eyre in a £6.99 edition.).  On top of that I got a book of the top 100 books from a recent reader poll in England and ordered a copy of as many of them as possible, then put the top 100 book on a special stand so people could browse it if they were looking for ideas of what to read.  And of course I was always on hand ready to recommend a book that I’ve either read or had recommended to me by Gillian or Wyatt (for example).

In short, I took the job seriously, and I’d like to think it paid off. I honestly enjoyed working there.  And the commute was good too. About a half hour bike ride from Camberwell Green to Cowcross St (by Farrington station), passed over Blackfriars bridge every day, in sight of the Globe theatre and St. Paul’s cathedral.  Had an hour and a half lunch break every day.  Life was good.

Well despite doubling income it didn’t save the store, which was turned into ANOTHER god damned sandwich shop (the whole street is already nothing but food stores).  Sigh.  But at least I wasn’t out of a job, they transferred me to 11 Brewer Street, in the heart of Soho (which, in case you don’t know, is London’s Red Light district).

There are a few downsides.  I only get a half hour break now instead of an hour and a half.  But I get off work an hour and a half earlier, so it balances out.  The bosses are willing to let me run the bookstore as I see fit, but the downside is I’m overloaded with stock from both the Cowcross and Kilburn stores (which also closed that week… and I used to work there… wonder if I’m cursed?) that has to be moved first before I can get creative.  Still, I’ve managed to create a niche for the graphic novels and SF/F, but I doubt I’ll have a proper fiction or classics section anymore.  Just don’t have the room.  It’s half the size of my old store.

As far as the bike route goes, well it’s a doozie… I pass over Westminster Bridge, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and the West End theatre district. Not bad for the view, but the roads I have to take will take some getting used to.  Busy.

Still, overall I guess it’s not bad.  I wouldn’t mind owning a nice bookstore someday.

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