Sunday, 23 November 2008

The good, the bad

Last year a friend met someone at a party who recommended a book and said he’d send her a copy and she didn’t really expect it to arrive, this was just one of those things people say at parties, but the book came – sent by Bill Samuel, vice chair of Foyles.

The above photo was taken in Foyles Charing Cross Road last week. When Foyles say they’ll order books, they mean it. And then they sell them, because that’s their job.

We like Foyles. And one or two others, who also follow through. John Sandoe’s, obviously; the Broadway Bookshop in Hackney; Daunts in Holland Park.

The link between what people say and what they actually do is rarely so straightforward. I used to work at Faber (whose CEO, Stephen Page, is described in the Guardian as ‘a cheerleader for an independent sector that has been buffeted by the increasing dominance of large rivals’). Last year, out of the 20 or 30 people there I worked with, drank with, gossiped with, two people bought CBe books. This year they still say nice things but not one has bought a book.

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