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A last minute reminder that we have Caro Ramsay coming to read from her work tomorrow night at 7.30 in the bookshop. Caro stock is ever-rising as a crime author and she’s an interesting speaker. The event is in aid of Oxfam’s ‘Bit of a Do’ campaign around International Women’s Day (see previous posts for links). Tickets can be purchased at the shop for £3 and they’ll also be available on the night.

Then – date confirmed- next Wednesday, also at 7.30pm, we have Pat McIntosh (again, see previous post for more info). As with Caro, tickets will be £3 and available from us at the shop.

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Finally today, I want to remind that our Vintage Childrens Book promotion is in full swing, and doing very well. Stock is starting to get limited now so please come and check out what we have sooner rather than later.

Many little things.

Many thanks again to the 78 for hosting our quiz. I was unable to make it this time, but by all accounts everything went as well as usual. Next one should be around May.

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Crime month is winding down and making way for our retro Childrens books promotion. If quirky ephemera in this category appeals, please drop in. I’m not 100% sure exactly when it is but I’ll post here when I know.

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We have some excellent events coming up in March. As I’ve previously mentioned here, during the week of March 8th, Oxfam is inviting you to celebrate women’s acheivements as part of Interenational Women’s Day (‘Have a Bit of a Do’ is the page name at Oxfam’s website).

At the bookshop we have Caro Ramsay, the celebrated crime author, returning for her second reading on Wed 9th March at 7.30. Tickets are available from us for £3 each. I found Caro to be an engaging and generous speaker last time. Recommended.

Also booked (date to be confirmed) is Pat McIntosh, author of medieval mysteries. Pat has also done a reading with us before. For the event that time she changed into a home-made reproductions of a medieval outfit for the event.  The Q&A involved many questions about historical detail and its incorporation into a contemporary genre. Unique, a bit of fun, and a must for fans.

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Lastly today, just to draw attention to our refreshed New Product ranges on the cusp of Fairtrade Fortnight.

The new gardening range covers a range of goods from gloves to the popular Ellie Poo planter. There are even seed packs and plant kits for children that contain paints to customize their pot as they like.

The relaunched Everyday range includes some of the Faith toiletries range from previous years as well as the sub-range of toilet cleaner, fabric conditioner and washing powder that we’ve had in some form or another for a few years now. And the popular lipbalm that appeared before Christmas is also available, along with many other lines. Best to pop in to us and have a browse.

A date has been booked for out fifth Literary Quiz (these are a regular occurance now so I guess I should drop the numbering). It will be on Tuesday 22nd February in its usual venue, The 78, on Kelvinhaugh Street. Quizmaster Derek likes to change things up from quiz to quiz, as regulars will know, so center your chi and bring an open mind. And if you haven’t been before, it’s a predominantly literary quiz, branching out into related genres and sometimes film or other crossover topics . Prizes for the highest placed teams and decent food on offer if you want to get there early. Not a bad idea as it can be busy. Start time is usually 9 o’ clock, give or take.

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A word of thanks and congratulations to Hyndland Primary School who raised £1700 pounds to purchase an Unwrapped classroom from us this week. I believe they organised a sponsored pirate treasure hunt. All credit to them, it’s a huge sum of money and it’s a generous and considerate gesture to use it for this end. Well done kids!

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The new bookshop at Royal Exchange Square in Merchant City is due to open, hopefully by next week. The manager, Gillian, previously worked at the Ayr shop, and I think she’ll do a great job. It’s a smaller unit than ours, about a third the size of our shop (going by numbers of books) but it’s very stylish and striking. They’ll concentrate on high quality non-academic non-fiction and fiction offers, possibly offering some academic stock when the demand is high for that. I recommend a visit when it’s up and running.

Many updates on the main Oxfam website worth looking into.

During the week of March 8th, Oxfam is asking us to celebrate women’s achievements for International Women’s Days. Browse through the tabs at the link for more information on why this is important and why you should get involved.  

Follow these links for information about floods on Sri Lanka and Colombia, and updates on Pakistan and Haiti.  There’s also an excellent general guide to Oxfam’s work here, well worth a look.

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February is Crime Month at the bookshop. We’ve seen a significant growth in crime donations and sales across our network over the last few years. It’s a genuine success story. For us, Crime Month has been great for drawing in new customers and showcasing the variety of stock we have.  

Also our fifth Literary Quiz will be happening in February at the 78, probably in the last week. I’ll update with the exact date as soon as we finalise it. It will be fiendish, as always.

2011

I think “The Year Britain Froze” is the title of an upcoming Channel 4 show about the extreme winter we’ve had (I say ‘had’ in the hope that another similar freeze is not lurking in late Jan/early Feb). Regardless, businesses must be run as best they can. It was a difficult period, both for us and retail in general, but we’ve survived intact (and this is including a spate of local power-cuts in the run-up). The last week of Christmas trading was a lifesaver for the bookshop, balancing the slower footfall we were experiencing over December in general. It’s Christmas after all, and people simply have to get what they need, grit or no grit.

So, forward then, with an eye on the end of financial year. There’s a lot happening in between now and then. Comic Relief, Valentine’s, Fairtrade Fortnight to name a few events. And at the shop we have our annual crime month in February. At the moment we’re concentrating on promoting gift aid, the scheme whereby we can reclaim tax on sales of donated goods. This amounts to considerable extra revenue for us as a network, so it’s important to ensure the public are aware of Gift Aid and how it benefits us when they sign up.

I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year, and here’s to 2011.

Boots, waterproofs, wool. By the end of this month I might be saying: crampons and subzero windproofs. At any rate, in this weather, you’re happy to see one volunteer make it over the door, not to mind three and four (well done folks).

It’s been too busy to blog. Most of our shops are dealing with large volumes of christmas card and seasonal new product (more specifically, christmas cards, wrapping paper, christmas crackers, christmas food and many christmas gift ideas) as well as their standard donation offers. Some nice stuff this year. Check out the trial spinner that we have at the bookshop. Pretty cool selection of bookmarks, reading lights and reading accessories. Going well.

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Many thanks to the donors who gave us the entire contents of a house-clearence recently. Dealers had not been contacted,  just us. One of the best hauls I’ve seen. An expansive, meticulously kept collection of popular science, philosophy and history that will be generating income for Oxfam over months to come. If you’re local, and have reading interests in these areas, well worth calling in before the best of it disappears.

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To any of our bookshop volunteers reading: in case you’re not yet aware, the christmas staff meal is very soon, so give us a shout for details of where and when.

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That’s about it for now. Remember, the situations in Pakistan and Haiti are still far from resolved. For information on what’s happening there and on Oxfam’s responses, as well as links to our online shops, please visit our main site.

Brief post.

The usual thanks: quizmaster Derek for the fiendishness (the picture round – he giveth, round 5- he taketh away) and the hosting; The 78 for having us, serving us, and generally being affable; the teams for attending, groaning, whooping, and giving generously for the raffle. Another success. Apart from my absymal performance. With John absent, there was no hope of me finishing anywhere but the thick end. I didn’t hand in answer sheets. I kept mental notes for 3 rounds, then I conceded defeat.

Literary Quiz V is due for release in January, plot and guest stars will be announced in due course.

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And check out the new Unwrapped catalogue here