Forever I’ve wanted to work in a bookshop, to be surrounded by thousands of books and people who love them as much as me! So this year when I put it on my Bookish Bucket List I was delighted to hear that the lovely Livia Sbarbo had contacted Blackwell through in Edinburgh and suggested that they might help me out! When Anne Landmann, Events Manager, contacted me I was whooping with joy! The date was set and the only quandary I was left with was would they actually get me out of there once I arrived 😂
In 2008 they were listed among the Independent’s top 50 bookshops in the UK – “It’s a labyrinth for book-lovers. Its location beside Edinburgh University has always meant it’s a good stop for students, although the rest of the shop is equally well stocked, with a great children’s section and exhaustive travel department.” – Independent 24th May 2008.
The day arrived and it was a crisp winter morning, a great day for a wee trip through to Edinburgh!
Not going to lie, I was feeling a wee bit nervous but I needn’t have worried! I arrived at the distinctive blue building on Edinburgh’s South Bridge and made my way inside. Wow was my first thought- look at all this space, all those books, all the Harry Potter gifts, I was in heaven!
Anne came and got me and took me up to the staff room where I was given my Bookseller For One Day lanyard and my very own locker! Eeeek! She then took me on a tour of the back room departments of the store, from where the deliveries arrived to Customer Services, Business centre to the cash office, it is an amazing warren and hive of activity behind the scenes! Absolutely fascinating to find out about the work that goes on to keep a bookstore running! I met most of the staff and they all were very friendly. Most of the staff in the store are educated to degree standard with a variety of subjects studied, so you know that you are always going to be able to find out what you need to know! And did you know that in Germany you can study for a degree in Bookselling! How cool is that! I heard all about BTU period – that’s Back To University- where it is one of the busiest times of the year for the store as all the students come to buy their texts for the new semester.
My first job was to replenish the stock of Books of The Year – now that was fun and I’m sure one of the more experienced booksellers could have done this much quicker than I did! Trying to find what sections the stock was to be collected from was intriguing, the books were in the most unexpected places! I certainly learned to find my way around the store and upped my step count on the way!
And yes, I discovered that I have Booksellers OCD and that compulsion to straighten books every time you walk by them!
Thankfully no customers asked me any difficult questions- I was asked twice about where to find the crime section – I must have that look! And I was able to answer that one immediately as I’d sniffed that department out as soon as I arrived! One customer comes to Edinburgh every year from Germany and comes to Blackwells to buy a crime novel, she told me how much she loved coming to the store! And of course being relatively tall I was asked to get some books from the top shelves!
Next, I helped out with some shelving in psychology, social work and medical departments- I felt a yearn for my uni days amongst the psychology and sociology textbooks! Promise I didn’t sniff the books – I did stroke plenty though!
Before finishing up my final task was to work the tolls and serve real customers- eeek! I loved this and got to spend some time chatting with some of the staff about blogging, book groups and reading!
My time as a Bookseller was over all too quickly, I probably could have easily locked myself in overnight! This shop is huge and it really does have something for everyone! The staff are all very friendly and customer focused, nothing is too much bother for them! There are books on every subject, gifts, stationery, music and a cafe to rest your weary feet. If you haven’t been to visit then I’d highly recommend you make a pit stop the next time you are in the area! So this happy little bookseller and her weary feet made the journey home with a smile on her face! Thank you to everyone at Blackwells for making my dream come true!