Tuesday, 23 July 2013

We have moved to Wordpress

This Blogger blog has ended and instead you should read all about Blackwell's bookshop Manchester on Wordpress.

This blog just ended up being a channel to bang on about events, and that was never the intention.

Our Wordpress blog should ensure more diverse content, including postings directly from our shop floor, putting you into the heart of the bookseller action like never before! (Assuming you'd appreciate 1,000 Vines of booksellers stickering and destickering books...)

See you over there!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Modern Family book launch with Socrates Adams

Join us on July 25th to launch Socrates Adams' new novel A Modern Family.

You may remember our last launch with him. Remember? We packed the shop to the rafters and we all had a lovely time.

A Modern Family follows the life of a popular car show presenter who has the perfect job but doesn't have the perfect family. Author Jenn Ashworth says A Modern Family "is filled with wry observation, ruthless satire and, underneath it all, a real warmth. It is scathing, truthful and hilariously, painfully funny." The book is being released on the brilliant Blue Moose Books.

Our launch takes place in the shop at 6.30pm on Thursday July 25th, and it is absolutely free to attend. We'll even put on refreshments, courtesy of Blue Moose.

The Facebook event page is here.

See you on the 25th.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

This @PenguinUKbooks @RandomHouseUK logo needs a caption

So publishers Penguin and Random House have merged. Fifty Shades meets Roald Dahl. Dan Brown meets Peter Rabbit.

Their new logo is simply their old logos side-by-side (see above).

For those with a bit of imagination, the new logo looks too odd not to be commented on. It demands a picture caption.

Comment below with a comedy caption for their logo. Or tweet us. We'll include your submissions on this blog.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Make some, er, noisy for a bookstore in Boise*

We love this idea of a little table-and-chair display outside a bookshop (inset), complete with books to browse.

This is Trip Taylor Bookseller in Boise, Idaho. Inside they have used books, open mic poetry nights, a chessboard and a poodle called Apollo.

Alas, the outside display is not something we could get away with on Oxford Road. But we still have chairs to enjoy the sun outside our cafe.

Trip Taylor, we salute you.

* we were hoping 'Boise' rhymed with 'noise', but it's pronounced like Boysie from Only Fools And Horses.. and even then, it's weak rhyme with 'noisy'. BLOGGING'S DIFFICULT, YOU KNOW

Friday, 14 June 2013

Paul Morley pops in for a cuppa

Here is Paul Morley signing his book The North (Bloomsbury Publishing) in our shop.

There are a few things we love about this picture. Maybe it's the person sneakily stealing the coffee in the bottom right corner. Maybe it's Maggie keeping an eye on The North. Or maybe, just maybe, it's Paul's 'author face'.

Needless to say, we now have stacks of signed first editions of The North now in stock!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Students get complaining after tuition fee rise

Universities are more likely to get complaints now tuition fees are higher.

A report by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator says appeals jumped by 20% in the first year of the new fees in England and Wales.One upheld complaint was from a PhD student who said their university examiners did not understand his subject.

Complaints against universities are still incredibly rare, and we think we have it pretty good in Manchester.

Not included in these complaints were [Censored] University that ran a course on Jedi mind tricks, [Censored] University that gave students food with drawing pins in, or indeed [Censored] University which is famously downwind of a sewage treatment plant.*

* All allegedly (according to online reviews) and none, thankfully, in the UK!

Monday, 10 June 2013

£29 Nook in stock again... get 'em while they're hot*

At the risk of repeating ourselves, we have received a LARGE delivery of £29 Nook Simple Touches.

We have stacks of covers, chargers and accessories too - even waterproof slipcases!

* actually room temperature like most, er, objects and that.

Friday, 31 May 2013

£29 Nook Simple Touches back in stock: limited time only

Our £29 Nook ereaders are back in stock. There are just a few, so come and get yours now. (This batch sold out.)

A lovely, clear display and plenty of eBooks, magazines and newspapers to choose from… and there's that amazing price.

At the risk of sounding like a market stall, once they're gone, they're gone. Come get!

4 days until #NewmanMcr: how to be a writer

In four days time, you'll get to see the fabulous Anneliese Mackintosh supporting Robert Newman. Anneliese is a writer. We learned this from YouTube. Look!

(Tweeting about the Rob Newman gig on June 4th? Use the hashtag #NewmanMcr!)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

#NewmanMcr competition time! Win tickets to see @mrrobnewman

We've teamed up with the lovely bookfluffies at Manchester Wire to bring you a fabulous competition to win free tickets to our Robert Newman event on Tuesday.

We'll even roll out the red carpet for you.*

Click here to enter our Rob Newman competition.

Only five days to go. You can turn up on the night, but to ensure entry, buy yourself a ticket - or win this competition (winner announced on Sunday)!

* subject to Rob arriving with his own personal red carpet and suitable carpet-cleaning shampoo / upholstery brushes

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

6 days until #NewmanMcr: one for teenagers in Devon

There'll be a few people reading this that may have braved the outdoor stage at the Manchester Book Market. Here's a thoroughly seasoned performer taking on the stage with her poem I Want To Be A Teenager In Devon. Oh and she just happens to be one of our fabulous support acts for our massive Rob Newman book event in just six days time!

(We're selling tickets in the shop if you don't want to buy online. Find our shop via the power of Google.)

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

7 days until #NewmanMcr: one for people that read things

No video today. Because we are just one week away from our joint gig with Bad Language, here is something more wordy: this link to an interview with Robert Neman on The List.
"Cargo [Publishing] have booked me to do readings of The Trade Secret for the rest of my life."
Yeah, sorry about that, Rob.

This will be one of his biggest book events. Robert Newman, Rosie Garland, Anneliese Mackintosh, June 4 at Gorilla Manchester. Tickets are selling well, oh yes they are, so get yours now.

Monday, 27 May 2013

8 days until #NewmanMcr: one for radio listeners and Clive Anderson

"I've never been congratulated for my oddness before," says Robert Newman on this brief radio interview about a recent tour. From BBC4 to stand-up to novel-writing, this is one chap you will definitely want to see.

As a bonus, below that is a very, very old interview full of awkwardness from the 11th century or something.

Join our Facebook event for the Robert Newman Manchester gig on June 4 - and do share it with your friends.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

9 days until #NewmanMcr: one for coffee drinkers

One thing that occurred to us when thinking about the coffee trading of Robert Newman's new book was the  documentary film Black Gold, which did the festivals circuit in the mid-noughties.

Join us on June 4th. Think stand-up meets book launch meets massive literary knees-up!

10 days until #NewmanMcr: one for the pigeon-fanciers

We are now only ten days off before a brilliant Manchester literary scene knees-up at Gorilla featuring comedian and author Robert Newman and amazing local writing talents Anneliese Mackintosh and Rosie Garland.

And so let's turn our attention today to the pigeons - referenced in the book - and the country's leading pigeon-fancier. Here's Jack Duckworth getting, er, jiggy with it. Don't look. DON'T LOOK.

[Buy Rob Newman Manchester tickets now.]

Why not follow our stars on Twitter? Robert Newman / Rosie GarlandAnneliese Mackintosh

Friday, 24 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: a musical interlude for @mrrobnewman

We're just outside our final ten videos to promote our amazing gig with Robert Newman, Rosie Garland and Anneliese Mackintosh: with just 11 days left, tickets are now selling faster and you should get an advance one just in case.

Here is, then, a musical interlude. Here's Declan O'Rourke singing Galileo (Someone Like You), from his debut album. Rob likes it, so if you come to event and play it to him on a kazoo, I'm sure, er, he won't mind.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 12 days to go

We are delighted to be teaming up with Bad Language to promote our event on June 4. Here is a remarkable event they held last year at the Manchester Museum. Jenn Ashworth and Helen Mort read.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 13 days to go

Our gig a week on Tuesday (have we mentioned it yet) will be part literary knees-up and part stand-up. Rob will have plenty of time to entertain you in An Evening With Robert Newman And Guests. So it seems appropriate to turn back the clock to a 2001 comedy routine.

Buy £3 tickets for his June 4 event now at We Got Tickets, or from our shop. Join the Facebook event here.  And follow the #Newman hashtag on Twitter.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 14 days to go

Our countdown continues. Says Rob Newman:
" Even though this is fiction and not standup, I'm hoping that people who enjoyed History Of Oil will like The Trade Secret, too. Two reasons. #1, the novel tells the story of Oil, The Early Years. #2 as with History of Oil, The Trade Secret tells a secret history, forgotten facts from our past, e.g. long before she ever sailed to America, The Mayflower may well have transported Mediterranean slaves from port to port across the Ottoman Empire. She was a part time slave ship before she was famous."
The Otto-what? Let us enlighten you... from a Venetian point of view. Contains fish and moustaches.

Monday, 20 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 15 days to go

Young servant Nat Bramble comes a cropper in Robert Newman's The Trade Secret because he dabbles in rogue trading. It's a theme that has resonance across the centuries - even in this rather trite BBC television programme in which a presenter provokes a dodgy dealer without getting beaten up. Still... it's quite entertaining. We promise our event will be utterly professional, honest!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 16 days to go

Robert Newman's feeling down, but don't worry, it's happening in the 1990s. Contains the phrase "dodecahedrically paralysed".

Saturday, 18 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 17 days to go

Robert Newman's book The Trade Secret mentions pigeons. There is absolutely, absolutely no other reason for posting this video other than it mentions something in a book that's being launched at our event. Sigh.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 20 days to go

In 20 days, as you may have gathered from this blog, we will launch Robert Newman's new novel The Trade Secret at Gorilla Manchester (7pm on June 4). Here is Rob being brilliant. Love Mark Thomas and Mark Steele? You need to be at our event in June!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: only three weeks to go

With 21 days until our biggest event yet, here's another video which takes a theme of Robert Newman's book - the battle against corporate power. Did you know there was an occupation of St Pauls in the days of King James? Here are the voices of some more modern-day protesters.

Monday, 13 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdo-- oh forget that, here's @socratesadams

We're meant to be counting down to our Rob Newman event with a series of connected videos, but we're so made-up with Socrates Adams' award success, here's a video which is nothing to do with the event but we don't care so shut up.

Here's Socrates Adams' hilarious 2012 promo for his book Everything's Fine. Watch out for his essential new book A Modern Family: launch news to come.

And the Young Bookseller of the Year is...

...Socrates Adams of Blackwell's Manchester!

Socrates began work with us as one of our temporary booksellers that help out during our busy September period. He's since risen up the ranks to manage our Business Centre, which works directly with university departments, the NHS and numerous other institutions and businesses.

In March, he was shortlisted for the Sue Butterworth Young Bookseller of the Year, sponsored by HarperCollins, facing competition from the likes of two London Waterstones, The Wallingford Bookshop and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. At a glittering black-tie ceremony tonight, he was announced as the winner.

We're obviously made up. It has been an incredible year here at Blackwell's. Over to his colleague Sue Chapman, one of our most experienced booksellers and a favourite with many customers:

Sue said: "Although I have only worked with Socrates for a relatively short time in his role as Business Centre Manager I have been impressed with his enthusiasm & knowledge. He is prepared to tackle anything... although he may sometimes have a dodgy taste in music Socrates is a pleasure to work alongside!"

Socrates recently declared an interest in the music of Cher. Nevertheless, we extend our congratulations.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 24 days to go

Our countdown continues, like some inexorable nuclear clock. Except instead of armageddon, you get Blackwell's and Bad Language's biggest ever event for only £3. Pre-booking is advised - get your ticket today while you remember!

Rob's book The Trade Secret is based on the true story of the first Elizabethans to discover coffee. So let's have one of the greatest coffee scenes in cinematic history: Iggy Pop and Tom Waits in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes.

Friday, 10 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 25 days to go

Our countdown continues. With 25 days until we host Robert Newman, here's what his new novel The Trade Secret could sound like. Here is, bookfluffies, a musical taste of Persia several hundred years ago. Coldplay be damned!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 26 days to go

Our countdown continues until our next book launch, and now it's time to focus on one of our wonderful support acts. Here's poet, writer and performance artist Rosie Garland reading a poem called Fortune Teller.

Rosie's debut novel, The Palace of Curiosities, came out in March. "Page after page, scene after scene, layer after layer of treats and surprises," says Sarah Waters.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 28 days to go

What happens when Elizabethan adventurers discover coffee? You'll find out in The Trade Secret, which gets its spotlight on the stage in 28 days. Our countdown continues. Here's an informational film on coffee production. Crikes, this is just like the Open University...

Monday, 6 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 29 days to go

With 29 days until Robert Newman, Rosie Garland and Anneliese Mackintosh take to the stage at Gorilla, here's a theme from the book: rogue trading. In The Trade Secret, a character loses a stack of silver as a rogue trader... nearly 400 years before this chap did the same!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

#NewmanMcr countdown: 30 days to go

It is 30 days until Robert Newman's Manchester show, so here is a taster of his stand-up routine History of Oil. The theme is reflected in his new book The Trade Secret.

Warning: contains adult and controversial themes from the start.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Rob Newman's Manchester book launch, 4 June 2013

Come along and meet author and comedian Robert Newman reading from and discussing his stunning new novel The Trade Secret (Cargo Publishing).

Supporting will be brilliant and entertaining writing talents Rosie Garland and Anneliese Mackintosh.

It all happens at Gorilla on Whitworth Street West on Tuesday June 4 at 7pm. Your £3 ticket will get you £3 off off Rob's new book on the night. Buy your Robert Newman ticket now!

Hosted by leading Manchester literary lovelies Blackwell's and Bad Language.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

£29 Nook Simple Touch

While other places sell out of the £29 Nook Simple Touch, we have stock and we're ready to dispatch straight to your lovely doormat.

All you need to do is ring us on (UK) 0161 274 3331 and ask for one to be sent. We'll charge you over the phone, pop one in the post and a brilliant bargain eReader is all yours!

We have all the accessories like covers and charges too.

Limited offer, limited stock. Get one now, bookfluffies!

Digital cake joy: book sales are rising

Book sales are on the up according to new figures from the Publishers Association.

After a rocky 2011, total book sales increased by 4% whether in print or paper format. Here's how the figures break down:

- Total book sales, digital and physical now at £3.3bn;
- Total digital sales have risen 66% to £411m, which includes a 149% increase in fiction digital sales.
- Total physical sales of fiction books are up too, rising 3% to £502m.
- Non-fiction physical sales are down 1%, partly because more academic books are being sold digitally.

The figures come from the Publishers Association Statistics Yearbook 2012 which is, yes, available in any format you want.

As a digital-friendly bookshop which trades in books constructed from both paper and data, we find these figures exciting and challenging.

Exciting because many bookfluffies out there still embrace real books alongside their eReader.

And challenging because we need keep up with our customers' habits, which means our shop has changed and will continue to change.

We've recently expanded our physical book selection and we continue to sell lots of digital product. It seems that readers are having their digital cake* and eating it.

* Cake is only available in physical format. Do not go to a cake shop and ask for a digital cake.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Author! Author! @UoMSALC bring #salcbooks to Blackwell's

Academics from the University of Manchester will launch not just one but nearly two dozen books tonight in Blackwell's.

The School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (SALC) have many publications to their name. The latest releases will be celebrated in the bookshop from 5.30pm. Book topics range from Indian philosophy to gay identity, from The Bayeux Tapestry to the communities of the Iron Age.

We've hosted our SALC chums many times before, and we're delighted to have them again. We may even ply them with wine...

Search for #salcbooks on Twitter for more information.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Please can all publishers do books like this? Thanks...

Complicated title.

Cute cover.

Maybe Oxford University Press could republish Jane Austin's Persuasion as 'A Narrative Of Emotional Constancy And Naval Nooky'. And then put a kitten on the cover.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Books and beyond: feel a bit spoiled for choice?

We have so many amazing works by authors and academics across the millions of pages that comprise our bookshop, it's easy to forget how much more we do.

Walking across the shop floor just now, we made a mental list of our new non-book product ranges...

- Lovely leather satchels
- Really retro gifts (harmonicas, yoyos and plenty more)
- Stacks of art supplies
- Board games including Manchester Monopoly (our road is blue)
- Monster gadget holders
- Pencil cases and pencil cases and pencil cases
- Nooks - either pronunciation is correct
- Fully wub-proof headphones! (Skrillex made us write that one.)
- Brand new bike accessories
- Actual charts of actual super powers. Special discount given if you are Iron Man.
- Boozy maps including the Manchester pub crawl
- Vintage knick-knack tins
- Boom Balls! (Yes, that's a real thing.)
- Gaga Mars? Amen! (that's an anagram of 'anagram games')
- Giant Microbe soft toys!
- Free balloons (sorry, too late, we've just given those away)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

All new booky goodness in Blackwell's

Expect a bit of reorganisation over the next few days in Blackwell's Manchester.

Our travel department will move to our first floor (although you'll still be able to buy your A-Zs at our downstairs till as usual) and we're going to order in lashings more of the following:

- graphic novels.

- science fiction.

- children's books.

You'll notice a few sections move on the first floor (including sociology, film & media, education and engineering), so do bear with us while we shift things around. If you see a book flying towards you, duck.

And once we're done (we'll let you know), come and ogle our newly-reorganised, better-stocked booky goodness!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Top five Reader! Read Faster! blog posts

What have you been reading most, recently?

1 The Almost Lizard book launch (it's happened now... we all had a good time). Mentions cats.

2 Blackwell's Manchester bookseller shortlisted for Bookseller Industry Award. Results in a month's time!

3 The MEN Newsdesk raises a glass to Pub Stops of Manchester. Like the tube, only pint-shaped.

4 Googly Eye Books.  Worth a look. Geddit? Oh never mind.

5 New name for books? Robot & Frank gives us food for thought.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Sales joy in Manchester for Suzanne Collins, @jasperfforde & @nook_uk

Our top sellers for March have been announced.

The third volume of the Hunger Games kept Gone Girl off our fiction top spot in March - one of two Suzanne Collins books in our top five. Gone Girl is a huge new success for 2013 and was expected to be our bestseller.

Jasper Fforde and Jackie Kay topped our sales of coursebooks, while our lovely Nook tablets continue to be a hit with customers.

As with every month, we have awarded sales awards for titles that did particularly well. Click through to our Bestsellers page for more.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Tetris lights... TETRIS LIGHTS!

Tetris lights!

If you take off a tetromino, its light turns off. When you put a tetromino back on, it lights up. And you can have them in any combination! Tetris lights! TETRIS LIGHTS!

This is one of the many really smashing gift items on sale at Blackwell's Manchester, although we might still be too excited to sell one to you. Tetris lights! ACTUAL TETRIS LIGHTS! Eeeeee!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A dollop of contronyms

Here are some words for you to puzzle over: a whole load of words that are their own opposites.

Mental Floss: 14 Words That Are Their Own Opposites

Daily Writing Tips: 75 Contronyms (Words with Contradictory Meanings)

It brings to mind the Albert Camus short story, L'Hôte. Its title has two contradictory meanings that reflect the nature of the characters in the story.

Contranyms are literally awe-ful but not awfully literal.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The @MENnewsdesk raises a glass to Pub Stops of Manchester

Aaaah, drinking. That essential brain lubricant behind many a degree.

The Manchester Evening News today features the spectacular Pub Stops of Manchester map. It's a Tube-style diagram of 550 local watering holes. Its creator, teacher John Coats, says “I would imagine that it will be up quite a few student walls.”

True, but the problem is whether they'll be put up straight after 550 pints. (That was a joke, not a challenge.)

It's one of our bestselling items here at Blackwell's. Come and find them dotted around the shop, preferably when sober.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Our blog is two years old today

Our blog is two years old.

What have we achieved in the past two years? Here is a list of our original blogging aims compared to what we have actually achieved.

Aim 1: Become the best blog that ever existed.

Result 1: Er...

Aim 2: Take over the world.

Result 2: Um...

Aim 3: Er...

Result 3: Oh.

In other words, things are going quite nicely with the blog, thank you very much.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easter opening times

The Easter bunny has commanded us as follows:

- Thou shalt not open on Good Friday, for it is a day of quiet reflection.

- Thou shall open gladly on Easter Saturday to bring joy unto the shoppers;

- Thou shalt not open on Easter Sunday for there may be the eating of many Easter eggs;

- Thou shalt not open on Easter Monday; instead, thy shall take up thy walking boots to high plains or Derbyshire or somewhere;

- Thou shall open again on Tuesday.

(After Christian satirist Adrian Plass. With apologies to Christians, other religions, athiets and anyone, really.) Our opening times are here.)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New name for books?

"I'd love to talk to you some more about your history with printed information."

A great quote from Robot & Frank, asked by a patronising man (Jeremy Strong) tasked with digitising a library (ie chucking all of its books) to one of its longtime regulars (Frank Langella) - a book reader who is "so square" he is "practically avant garde" in the age of the ebook.

An interesting watch for fellow book-heads.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Cruising for a browsing?

Bookshop browsing is, as it turns out, a good thing according to this piece in The Bookseller.

New market research suggests that healthy bricks and mortar bookshops lead to a healthy publishing industry, while closed bookshops don't just shift sales to the internet: many of the sales disappear altogether.

Market analyst Douglas McCabe says: “We estimate that when a bookshop closes, about a third of its sales transfer to another bookshop. This means as much as two-thirds of sales disappear.

"Some of this spend doubtless migrates online, but much of it vanishes from the book sector entirely.”

He added that nothing should be "considered too extravagant" in efforts to keep bookshops going.

We agree, obviously. There is a lot we can do that, say, Amazon can't do. In fact, we'd encourage everyone to treat us with extravagance. Chocolates will do, but only posh ones that come individually wrapped inside ribbon-tied boxes.

The article also says that, with the exception of the Fifty Shades trilogy, social media isn't a great way of shifting book units. So stop reading this blog post immediately. It's stopping you from buying new books. Stop reading. Stop it. Oh, you're so rebellious.

We feel positive about the future. Our customers are loyal and our booksellers are passionate. And we also think that lots of our books happen to be brilliant too.

Some time soon, take a few moments to have a browse. It's an extravagance worth taking.

You're still reading, aren't you? Stop it.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Googly Eye Books

Here's something for the weekend: googly eyes on books.

Googly Eye Books does what it says on the, er, paperback. They even have an A-Z list of featured authors.

Have a look. As it were.

Spotted by @John_the_Monkey, @roadccdave & The Poke.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A catchy little collection: @GIANTmicrobes plush toys

We've been feeling a bit peaky here at Blackwell's, and we've just worked out why.

In our medical department on the first floor, if you're lucky you could catch cholera, malaria, swine flu, the common cold and the clap. The ailments come courtesy of our uber-cute Giant Microbes, plush toys that look surprisingly similar to their microscopic counterparts. Well. As similar as a 7" cuddly toy can look...

Pictured above left is chickenpox, which isn't in stock yet but paid a visit to its mates on our first floor yesterday.

Next to that is chickenpox hanging out with its friends, all of whom are in stock and are waiting for you to buy them. Clockwise from top right:
- a brain cell that's just graduated;
- chickenpox;
- bird flu;
- gangrene;
- salmonella (which, in a certain light, looks like Phil Oakey from The Human League);
- MRSA complete with superbug cape.

They're ideal companions to any diseases textbook, and are even available in petri dishes! Pictures by Vicki, our medical buyer.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

This is the kind of feedback we love - thank you ‏@HeightDeficient & @RachStirrup

A tweet from January which we missed (whoops, sorry!): "The local blackwells has a whole stand for whovian literature. Brilliant..."

And yesterday: "Was in @BlackwellMcr with my friend recently and we literally squealed--they have an entire section dedicated to 'Whovian Literature' :D"

The Whovian Literature display has now dematerialised, having been replaced by Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale and other people in our Extraordinary Lives promotion.

But many of the books are still in stock. Maybe you could set off on an intergalactic adventure, er, among our shelves to find the books. Sigh. That analogy was rubbish. We wish our bookshop was a TARDIS.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Semiotext(e) offer now on

Semiotext(e) are a brilliant and provocative publisher, and we're delighted to be running an offer for them at the moment.

They are one of America’s most influential independent presses. Their works of cutting edge theory and avant-garde literature will make your mind boggle... and bring a smile to your face. We have a table of their work at £2-off.

Click through to the Blackwell's Pinterest board to see some of the books on offer. If you're in the shop, look for the poster (pictured) on the first floor.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Book launch haiku

Thank you to everyone who came along to last night's book launch for James Higgerson's The Almost Lizard, and to Legend Press for their invaluable help. As a, um, treat for our performers, we wrote them a haiku each. Here they are again with links to our performers' websites. With apologies to every poet ever.

Event haiku:

Words and words and words / and words and booze and words and / booze and booze and words. 

Chris Killen haiku:*

Simple summary: / award winning film maker / and pizza eater.
[more about Chris here]

Rodge Glass haiku:

Is that Ryan Giggs / in Rodge’s garden again / or is it a gnome?
[more about Rodge here

Sam Mills haiku:

Industry destroys. / Oh I think I’ve got the wrong / dark Satanic Mills.
[more about Sam here

James Higgerson haiku:

James Higgerson: / so wasteful of syllables / I might run out of
[more about James here

* By coincidence, Chris Killen also read a haiku or three and is, not surprisingly, much better at writing them than we are.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Blackwell's Manchester bookseller shortlisted for Bookseller Industry Award

Our very own Socrates Adams has been shortlisted for Young Bookseller of the Year in the Bookseller Industry Awards.

Socrates is an award-winning filmmaker, acclaimed novelist… and now a leading UK bookseller. He manages our Business Centre, which provides books direct to universities, the NHS and many other organisations.

His shortlisting for the Sue Butterworth Young Bookseller of the Year award, sponsored by HarperCollins, comes alongside two other successes for us. Marion Akehurst of our Wellcome Collection shop has the nod for Manager of the Year, while Blackwell's itself has been shortlisted in the National Bookseller category alongside the likes of Foyles and Eason's. See the full BIA shortlists here.

Our Dedicated Accounts Manager Sue Chapman works with Socrates and will be a voice familiar to many of our account customers. She said: "Socrates is prepared to tackle anything. He's popular with both staff and customers, and although he may sometimes have a dodgy taste in music, Socrates is a pleasure to work alongside!"

The winners will be announced on May 13.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

What is the Folio Society?

The brand new Folio Literary Prize appears to want to better the Booker with its focus on less populist literature. We're intrigued. Let the battle of the prizes commence.

But who is its sponsor, the Folio Society?

They're a London publisher whose co-founder set up Pan books (of Pan Macmillan fame) and have comissioned pieces from the likes of Carol Ann Duffy, Quentin Blake and Rowan Williams. Members of the society receive books in return for their subscription.

Some of their special editions are fancy hardbacks. Very fancy. The four pictured here will set you back, in total, over £1,200. Of course, they have much cheaper books too - but their limited editions are worth a browse.

Bow down, mortals, to our @DCComics Absolute Editions! #newDCday

We now have a load of DC Comics Absolute Editions in.

Imagine Batman printed and bound as a beautiful slipcase hardback. (Batman the comic, not the real person who definitely actually existed.)

With extra scripts and notes, these are very lovely essential high-end purchases for devotees of Doctor Manhattan, V and Superman.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The moment our app idea was thoroughly rejected by Charlie Brooker

Charlie Brooker:
"Q: What problem do you have that you wish could be solved by an app? I'm going to create some apps. I say "create", I mean "imagine"."

Blackwell's Manchester to Charlie Brooker:
"An app where a virtual Charlie Brooker appears in our bookshop and breakdances furiously until someone buys your book."

Charlie Brooker to Blackwell's Manchester:
"Never going to happen."

Blackwell's Manchester:
Designs virtual Charlie anyway using packing tape, poster tubes, magazine cutouts and lazers.

See the apps that made it: Two apps that will transform your life.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Reader! Read Faster! bestseller awards for February 2013

The inaugural Reader! Read Faster! bestseller awards span the digestive system, law textbooks and a debut from a Manchester-based novelist.

We publish the bestsellers for Blackwell's Manchester on this blog because, ultimately, if you are buying the books, there is no better recommendation. You can read the bestsellers here. We split them into top five fiction, top five academic books and top five gift & stationery items. In addition to listing our top five top books, for the first time in February we also now give awards for particularly strong performances.

We give a FASTEST! award to the absolute bestsellers of the month: books that did much better than we expected because you, the reader, can't get enough of them. In our February bestseller list, this award goes to The Digestive System by Margaret E. Smith, Dion G. Morton, and to Tort Law by Kirsty Horsey & Erika Rackley.

Our FAST! award is for those just behind the leaders, books that still did incredibly well. Think of it as a 'commended' accolade. For February, this goes to Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler and to Public Law by Mark Elliott & Robert Thomas.

Well done to all. Oh, what do the authors win? Satisfaction, flattery and a tiny sprinkling of smugness!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

A possible rebranding of World Book Day

Or possibly not.

We've been out delivering World Book Day books to schools recently. All that travelling has possibly been doing funny things to our mind.

Editor's note:
It seems that the popular opinion of our booksellers here is that this is the worst post Reader! Read Faster! has ever done. Of particular disappointment is the attempt to pun "March" with "mallard" on the spine of the red book. It is the most brazen attempt at punnery since Shakespeare wedged a "grave" joke into Mercutio's dying comments. Blackwell's Manchester would like to apologise to, er, itself for letting itself down. We promise to have 97% fewer duck puns in future.

The red is dead: our new look blog

Welcome to our new-look blog.

The angry, tabloid red of our previous design has gone. And although we've kept the same Blogger template,  we've made it look all fancy and that. Well. As fancy as Blogger can get. Oh and we're not capitalising the titles of blog posts any more because posting to Twitter is annoying.

If you're really clever, you'll notice the colours of the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University in our design.

We've kept the name, which, let us not forget, is stolen shamelessly from Driver Drive Faster whose keyboardist can be spotted on our ground floor running our fiction department. Here they are performing at Sounds From The Other City.


Monday, 4 March 2013


Our event on Friday 15 March has two new things. A shortened URL and a poster! Woo! Do come and support James Higgerson's first novel launch - you also get Sam Mills, Rodge Glass and Chris Killen too, all for the price of nothing!

Do share. The Facebook event is here.

Here's the Twitter-friendly URL:


And here's the poster: Click for bigger.

Friday, 1 March 2013


Don't know if anyone caught the story in the Guardian the other day about EL James and her next book, but it's worth a read.

Click here for a readable size.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Why did we miss this one? Stephen Milner, professor of Italian at the University of Manchester, has discovered an arrest warrant for the Prince of Darkness himself, Niccolò Machiavelli.

The Prof found the document by accident while researching town criers of Florence. Macca, as he wasn't known to his friends, was done for conspiring against the the Medici., thrown in prison and tortured.  This (above) is the warrant for that arrest in 1513. After release, Machiavelli legged it to small village outside Florence to write The Prince.

It just shows what you can find if you have a bit of a tidy... More on the Telegraph website.

Monday, 11 February 2013


Short URL to this blog post: tiny.cc/lizardz
Join the Facebook event

An exciting new novelist will launch his debut in Blackwell's in March alongside a stellar line-up of authors.

James Higgerson is a cat-owning Manchester PhD student who was runner-up in the Luke Bitmead Bursary Award. The Almost Lizard (Legend Press 2013) is his debut and is a story of modern mental illness in a media-obsessed society. Our event on Friday 15 March will be the book's official launch.

Support will come from three massively exciting authors:

Sam Mills' debut novel The Quiddity of Will Self was longlisted for Not the Booker prize and is an "ingenious, energetic read" (Sunday Times). Sam is a former chess journalist and has contributed to 3am and The Guardian. As one of the founding members of the Will Self Club, Sam rose to the position of Sovereign Grand Quiddity Inspector General. Naturally. At the launch event, we'll have copies of an absolutely brand new paperback edition of Quiddity

Rodge Glass wrote two novels for Faber, Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs (Tindal Street Press 2012), won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2009 and co-authored the award-nominated graphic novel Dougie’s War: A Soldier’s Story (Freight, 2010). He is also Associate Editor at Cargo Publishing. As a special treat for event attendees, we hope to have preview copies of his not-yet-released short story collection LoveSexTravelMusik available on the night.

Chris Killen is an author whose much-vaunted novel The Bird Room showed "exuberant brio" (Guardian) and was "so fresh it practically pings with energy" (Independent). When he's not making podcasts about pizza and working on his new novel In Real Life, Chris is part of Metal Man, whose film Wizard's Way won the London Comedy Festival Discovery Award 2013.

Join Blackwell's, James, Sam, Rodge and Chris for a fantastic evening of fiction.

Date: Friday 15 March 2013
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Blackwell's bookshop, The Precinct Centre, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RN
Admission: free

Thursday, 24 January 2013


We're not averse to a bit of elbow grease at Blackwell's.

Our Business Centre - that often-unseen office area where we offer tailored services for books, mapping and specialist publications to organisations - was in need of a repaint. Our booksellers got to work with what we think is the perfect shade of light blue. Here they are just starting off.

We even put the colour to a public vote! And by that, we mean buy the paint then hope Twitter doesn't suggest anything different... click this image to make it bigger.

It went brilliantly! (Thanks to FictionStroker for making us chuckle.)

Independent bookshops are all about graft and we love every minute of it. If you want to buy publications via your organisation, then you should pay a visit to the Blackwell's Business Centre soon. Give Customer Accounts a call.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Thank you to everyone who came down for Friday's book launch.

Jenn Ashworth read from her brand new book The Friday Gospels, a tragicomic tale of Lancastrian Mormons described by the Telegraph as "Ashworth’s most confident work yet". Our Q&A afterwards focused on the different voices of the novel, the uniqueness of British Mormonism and the warmth weaved throughout the narrative.

Russ Litten chose to read from his forthcoming crime novel Swear Down - which prompted the best comment from the evening when an audience member said in the Q&A: "I'm only here for the free drink... but I like you."

Your host for the evening was Fat Roland, who has been known to moonlight as Blackwell's assistant manager. Thanks to everyone for putting up with his insistent plugging on Facebook! Massive thanks too to Sceptre Books for supporting the evening. The launch even had a hashtag.

The Friday Gospels is a great book (we love that cover too) and we were proud to launch it in Blackwell's. We'll add photos to this blog post as and when they appear online.

Monday, 7 January 2013


It's Friday in Blackwell's, but this is no ordinary Friday... it's the launch of Jenn Ashworth's new novel The Friday Gospels.

Our event features a reading and a Q&A with Jenn, and support from Russ Litten, author of Scream If You Want To Go Faster and the forthcoming Swear Down. As well as the amazing company and laughs that were the trademark of our events in 2012. Your compere as ever will be the indefatigable Fat Roland.

It starts 7.30pm on Friday 18 January 2013 and admission is free! Do download the poster above (click for bigger) and share it on your networks.

Praise for The Friday Gospels

"A set of brilliantly realized voices in a narrative of great energy and skill... A serious novel seriously engaged with big themes. It is also very funny"' - Andrew Miller, author of Pure

"There’s an addictive, claustrophobic, intimate feel to this novel that reminded me of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap. Engagingly funny and sad." - Red Online

"The Friday Gospels is possibly the first work of fiction to deal with the Mormon faith in the context of Modern Britain, but to focus on this aspect would be a violation of its specialness. It is rare to find a novel that is so complex, so damn clever and yet at once readable... - a truly exceptional novel." - Helen Walsh, author of Brass and Go To Sleep