I love wandering around bookstores; running the tips of my fingers along all those spines, pulling down books of interest, glancing at the cover art, reading the blurb. They offer a unique atmosphere of solace – one of those rare havens where we can disappear and gain a peaceful hour away from the hustle and bustle of the high street. So you can imagine my delight when my local Waterstones store asked me to join them in the celebrations for Books Are My Bag (BAMB) day last Saturday.
We live in a world where the internet is part of our home and presents so many new avenues to purchase goods. On occasion it can be more convenient to buy at the press of a button. But high street shops offer a unique hands-on experience and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to share the market with online suppliers. Interestingly, according to the BAMB website, “56% of all book buying decisions are made by consumers in a bookshop and high street bookshops (both chains and independents) still account for almost 40% of books bought by consumers.”
Armed with orange-topped cookies, I arrived at Kettering Waterstones to find that they had graciously set me up a table for my own work. I did sign some books during the afternoon, but BAMB day is more a celebration of the bookshop experience and I embraced this by spending much of my time walking the floor and chatting with readers about the day. I helped a woman choose a cookery book concentrating on preserves, an elderly man select a travel book for his upcoming holiday, and discussed favourites genres and books with lots of people. There was a man who’d written a book and shared his own publishing journey; a wonderful family whose nine-year-old daughter told me, “I want to be an author when I grow up.” All magical moments.
The customers were a little camera shy (hence you only see me in the pics), but I’m sure everyone would agree that an enjoyable afternoon was had by all. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Paul and all the lovely staff of Kettering Waterstones for being so warm and welcoming. Gratitude also goes to my daughter who baked the special cookies which were yummy.
As you can see, it didn’t take me long to fill my bag!