Tuesday, 1 May 2012


I surprised myself with a little comment at our Gregory Norminton book launch last week. I told a friendly, wine-supping crowd that you don't get book launches like ours on Amazon.

A month on from Tim Waterstone's broadside against the online bookseller, it seems that the ever-expanding Amazon are becoming the new Tesco. Easy to use, but also easy to kick.

And why not? Every time you shop on Amazon, it means fewer and smaller bookshops. A quarter of independent bookshops have closed in the past five years.

Many of my friends believe in shopping locally and buying ethically-sourced produce and yet think nothing of spending their book money with Amazon.

But there's also a challenge for us bricks and mortar people because, actually, Amazon can be quite useful. They can do the clicky thing well, and so we need to be much better at other things. There's a need for us bookshops to be personal and professional in a way that web 2.0 can never achieve.

That's one of the reasons why we've bought chairs. And PA equipment. And booze. Because we can do book launches in a way that Amazon can't.

One of our event regulars (I won't embarrass the person by naming them!) described our events as "intimate, bright, well organised and hilarious". You may have missed some of our recent events with the likes of Socrates Adams, Chris Emery (pictured) and Gregory Norminton, but you can get an idea of what we do from our book launches Pinterest page.

Blackwell's intend to be in Manchester for many years to come. However, we need to keep changing, tweaking and, if necessary, having outrageously fun book launches.

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