Ten days in London went quicker then I realised. When I arrived I had two tasks on my To Do list. 1. To visit all the beautiful unique, old, vintage, historic and new bookstores in London AND 2. Find a distributor to distribute Swept away by Wanderlust here in the U.K & Europe oh and I had a number 3 (there is always three). See my gorgeous English friend Anna and attend her engagement bash.
I started my first day by mapping out the twelve bookstores I wanted to see, that way I could see which ones were close together and in the same areas. Once I completed my circles on the maps, it was time to start on task number two as this was going to be the most difficult. Not having a strong knowledge of the distributor market here in the U.K. I had to start from scratch. So I thought I would start out by going to the most loved site in the world and asked ‘google’. I was so happy with google as he was just amazing and helped me out a lot! He even went to the extra effort by providing me with a PDF from a previous roadshow which was 11 pages titled ‘UK Book Distributors 2011’ which detailed a little about each one – just extraordinary! never doubt google, he is always such a helpful guy. With this incredibly helpful PDF I began reading all about the distributors, from 50 I was able to cull it down to 13. I went a little further and read their websites, from there I was able to make a list of 10 to contact. The rest of the afternoon I spent emailing them all and letting them know I was in London and would love to make an appointment to see them.
The next day it was time to have some fun in this famous, old and conspicuously multicultural city of the world dominated by the most famous monarchy in history. I figured it would be a little at least a day before I would receive any replies to my emails so I thought I would go the next step in researching and simply ask the bookstores themselves! My first bookstore I visited was Bernard J. Shapero which is a wonderful series of decades of rare and antique books aswell as old vintage and historical photographs. When I entered the bookstore an old English gentlemen in a greyish brown suit, white shirt and bow tie approached me and asked in the most English accent “Can I help you?”. The truth was I wasn’t really in the store for our book. I was in there purely for the pleasure of being in there, as I absolutely love the smell of old books and the feeling of age when you run your fingers gently across the fragile pages. I didn’t reply precisely that, but I told him I just wanted to come here just to view the beautiful books. The old Englishman smiled and politely asked “What brings you to London?” that was when I explained and told him about my two tasks. He then said “Come and take a seat and show me your book”.
I sat with the old Englishman for a while, he took such great interest in our book and had more knowledge on books then some libraries. He gave a lovely compliment on our book, then began recommending me to distributors and bookstores to visit. It was such a pleasure to meet him and leaving this rare bookstore I was inspired more than ever and ready to take on London.
The next ten days that is exactly what I did. I visited every bookstore in London from the famous independents Foyles, Daunt Books, Blackwells, Stanfords, Hatchards, Notting Hill bookshop, Primrose Books, Bricklane bookshop to the big retailer Waterstones! and lastly the old unique second hand bookshops that are always special to walk into. Each and everyone I went into, I showed our book and introduced myself.