Saturday, February 10, 2018

Independent Bookshops Alliance - an update.

Just thought i'd post an update on the Independent Bookshop Alliance.
So, there are now about 120 bookshops interested in joining forces to give us more negotiating powers.
We are in the process of highlighting the major titles that we'd be may want to talk to publishers about with a view to get some form of exclusive indie only deal.

The ideas and feedback from the bookshops about how this thing will work has been priceless. There are so many issues facing independent bookshops that, when I first mooted the idea, I hadn't really thought about.
We are very lucky being based in London, when it comes to author visits. Many of the shops that aren't in the capital have told me that they find it hard to persuade publishers to organise visits and this is something else we're looking at.

There are also discussions going on about business rate relief for bookshops, on which some work has been done in the past, but it's certainly something we want revisit.

And here is some exciting news.
Lord Bird (founder of The Big Issue) has been in touch. He's a passionate advocate of literacy in the House of Lords and has very kindly organised an event in Parliament for us to raise the profile of independent booksellers. 

So, at the end of March, a room has been reserved for us at the House of Lords where we're inviting people from across the industry, and those who could play a part in helping us achieve our goals to come along to discuss our plans.
This is phenomenal and I couldn't be more grateful to Lord Bird for giving us this platform. 

Things are really beginning to happen and it's great that we've managed to maintain the momentum.

If there are any indie bookshops that are interested in joining the discussion, please email, just saying YES and we'll add you to the forum that's been set up. Your input is vital if this is going to work, so please do get in touch. 


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Independent Bookshops Working Together? I think it's possible.

Last year, there was a bit of a hooh hah among indie booksellers, after a special edition of Philip Pullman's "Book of Dust", was made available exclusively through Waterstone's. 5,000 of these signed special editions, we're sold online and in store for £35 each.
That's £175,000 worth of book sales.  

This was certainly not the first time this kind of thing has happened, and in a blogpost, The Secret Bookseller expressed their frustration, saying that Independent Bookshops are never given the opportunity to profit from these kinds of deals. This post resonated with many people. 

My personal view is that I don't blame Waterstone's, Philip Pullman or David Fickling (the book's publisher) for doing this. It makes perfect sense if you have a large number of  bookshops all being able to offer the same deal. That is one of the advantages of being a large bookchain and having the facility to centrally buy titles, such as this.

So, imagine, if you will, a group of say, 150+ Independent Bookshops getting together in a semi official capacity, in order to approach publishers to say "Hey look, there are 150 of us bookshops who will promote/advertise/own the new book by (insert universally bestselling author here), if you give US an exclusive limited edition of their book."

If this happened, I suspect that there'd be quite a few publishers and authors who'd take notice, and want to support this.

(I hasten to add that this is a hugely simplified version of things, but I hope you get the idea)

The idea of an Independent Bookshops Alliance has been tried before, but I really think that, despite us all being fiercely independent (quite right too), there are times when it could be a huge advantage for us to work together to negotiate better discounts, exclusive indie offers and maybe more.

This is the seed of an idea, so I don't want to get into logistical discussions about how it can/can't work. I'm busy trying to run a bookshop. 

But if you are IN ANY WAY interested in pursuing this idea, please email , saying YES.

If the response is good, then we can look at how the heck we're going to make it work. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please share it, so the message gets out to as many indies as possible. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Competition Time! Get your Tweet in a book!

I was delighted to be able to announce earlier this week that I have a deal with Head of Zeus to publish a book called We’re Asleep Dad, billed as a “collection of parenting tweets from the frontline”, in autumn, with illustrations by the amazing Moose Allain.

You can pre-order it HERE if you like...

It's loosely based on some tweets I've been doing about getting my kids to sleep. Here's the kind of nonsense you can expect to find in the book. 

My kids are asleep. I know this because a paper airplane has just smashed against my head & on the wing someone has written "we are asleep".

My kids are asleep. I know this because when I saw them in the kitchen just now, they told me they were sleepwalking.

You get the idea....

Thankfully, as I said, the publishers have enlisted the considerable talents of Moose Allain to illustrate these tweets and I honestly could not be happier with the early sketches he's shown me.

OOh, I've just been granted permission to show you an early version of the likely cover.

Are you ready...

Now then, we thought it would be a fun idea to offer YOU the chance to have one of your "my kids are..." Tweets into the book. 

So we're running a competition!

One of the chapters will include a few example of how my kids "help out".
All you need to do is send me a tweet in a similar format to the two above, @biggreenbooks, with the hashtag #mykidsarehelping and then think of something that they could be doing (or not doing)  in 140 characters or less. 

The competition ends on Monday 29th May at midnight.

The winner, chosen by myself, Moose and the lovely people at Head of Zeus, will  not only get their tweet in the book, it will also be illustrated by Moose (and of course you'll get name checked).


Also, if you don't already, please do follow Moose on Twitter @MooseAllain (he's one of the best).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016. It's Not All Bad

Yep, 2016 is a bit of a fucking monster.
But I reckon we should spend at least 3 minutes celebrating all the good stuff. 
I've cobbled together this.

Hillary Clinton did what no other woman in the history of the United States has ever done: She got the presidential nomination of a major party. 
She also managed to get over 2 million votes more nationally than the person who actually won. FUCK!

Image result for hillary clinton

Image result for deadpool

The Chibok girls were released by Boko Haram.

Tim Peake went into space and was absolutely awesome (thumbs)
Image result for tim peake

Sadiq Khan.

Leicester City won the Premier League. Yeah, sport, whatever… but Twitter exploded with joy about this, so shut the fuck up.
 Image result for leicester city

Sarah Olney beat that absolute twat in the Richmond Park bi election.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize for fiction. Magnificent! How did that happen??
Subversive, satirical and absolute genius.
Image result for sellout beatty

Pokemon Go.
Image result for pokemon go

All those funny cats and silly dogs on youtube. They really upped their game this year.

And here's the big one...

We are still here to make 2017 FUCKING AMAZING. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cake & Bake Manchester

I need someone to help me. I will pay money. 

Image result for cake bake manchester

We're selling books at the Cake & Bake Show in Manchester, which runs from Thursday November 10th to Sunday November 13th. 
It's 4 days of Cake related madness and is probably going to be very busy. 
Lots of Bake Off stars will be there, including Nadiya!

I'm looking for a sensible, friendly person to help me over the 4 days. 
it's from 10am-until about 4.30pm and essentially you'll be selling books and being nice to people. 
I'll be there too, and will train you on our ridiculously easy till. 

I'll pay you £50 a day. 

If you're based in Manchester and can help out please get in touch. 
Tel. 020 8881 6767
or email

Thank you. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

A 3 Hour Half Price Sale. Come on!

I am writing this post at 9.40pm on Friday. 
The bookshop has had a super crazy day. It was The Big Green Marathon. #BGBMarathon on the Twitter.
A day that Tim announced he wouldn't go home until we'd taken £1,000 . It was a huge ask, as we hadn't got close to this figure on a Friday since last Christmas. 
But you lot played a blinder and we've just reached £1030. 
Tim's still at the shop selling even more books, because there's a book launch happening. 

So firstly. 


And secondly, as a special treat. 

Tomorrow, between 11am and 2pm, all books/toys in the shop are HALF PRICE.*

Three hours of half price action is available.

*doesn't include customer orders.

If you can make it to the shop, imagine the treasures you will find. 

Hope you can make it. 

Bookshop Marathon

Tim has declared that this Friday (today) be Bookshop Marathon day.
Bookshop Marathon Day? What's that?

Well let me tell you.

Tim will not close the shop today until we take £1000.

This can be over the counter, on the phone (020 8881 6767),or online/email sales ( and he will be taking his sleeping bag in on Friday morning. The last time we took £1000 on a Friday was December last year, so it's ambitious, to say the least. 

If you come in to buy some books, you can roll the Devilish Discount Dice and maybe WIN BIG.

A reminder of  the many faces of Tim West, who will be taking on this extraordinary challenge. 
One of these may not be the right Tim West.

I guess we're gonna have to have some kind of Twitter hashag for this, aren't we? How about #BGBMarathon. 

I'm (Simon) typing this at 6.30am, as i'm just off to work now. Thought i'd give Timmy a hand and open up early to maybe catch some early punters. I'm nice like that. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Five Days

Christmas is coming early to the Big Green Bookshop.
Read on for 3 for 2 opportunities and news of the mighty Bookshop Marathon!
Over the next five days, we invite you to come along to the shop and pick up the perfect gift for the festive season.
Ding dong merrily on high..etc.

Yes, yes, we know it's September, but to be totally honest, we need to pay our rent next week and due to having £10,000 owed to us in outstanding invoices, it's gonna be a exciting tale of bookselling derring-do over the next few days in order to do so.

So, how can we tempt you into the shop?

Well, apart from all the delights we have here already (including a whole new batch of books and toys from Tuffet's), we have three exciting events for you over the next three days. 


Wednesday September 21st – 7.00pm sharp!
How to Pitch to a Literary Agent
With Hattie Grunewald from Blake Friedmann Agency.
An amazing opportunity for budding authors to learn some vital lessons on how to approach an agent when you’re pitching your book to them.


Thursday September 22nd - 7.00pm
An Evening with Alison Moore 
It’s with enormous pleasure that we welcome back Booker shortlisted novelist Alison Moore to the shop to mark the publication of her phenomenal new novel Death and the Seaside.

The day after tomorrow.

Friday September 23rd - 7.00pm
The Launch of "Wood Green" by Sean Rabin. 
Event details HERE (it's free!)
A Celebration of new Indie Publisher Dodo Ink, with Sean, Seraphina Madsen and Tom Tomaszewski!




Friday September 23rd

Bookshop Marathon

Tim has declared that on Friday, he will keep the shop open until we take £1000!
This can be over the counter, on the phone,or online sales and he will be taking his sleeping bag in on Friday morning. The last time we took £1000 on a Friday was December last year, so I think maybe the egg nog has gone to Tim's head.
So what better reason to buy your books here on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday! (mwa ha ha haa).

We'll be announcing more exciting offers nearer the weekend, so look out for that. 
In the meantime though....

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Time Out Love London Awards

I discovered earlier this week that we've been nominated for the annual Time Out Love London Awards

Last year’s Love London Awards saw 16,000 nominations and 75,000 votes cast for 5,000 venues across the city. We got some of those votes and as a result of those votes, now proudly display this in our window. 

We're quite keen to get another sticker, so if you can spare a minute or two and you'd like to 

Thank you. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

YouTube Channel Blag.

Last month, we announced that we were going to start a YouTube Channel.  

It's going to be a right old mix of stuff, including book reviews, opinions & rank stupidity, but hopefully it'll be something you'll enjoy. 

One of the things i'd like to do is have a monthly post where I open parcels of books that publishers send me to read. I won't know what they are, so it might be interesting to see what I get sent. I'll be getting my kids (6 & 8 years old) to review books for younger readers too.

 If I get enough, i'll pick 6 or so to read and review the following month from the packs that I open.  

So this is essentially me blagging free books isn't it?

Well, yes, but also, if you send me a book, I guarantee it'll get onto our YouTube Channel, so it might interest people who watch it (if anyone does, of course). 

I will be focusing on fiction mainly, and I do love indie publishers, but if you fancy sending me something and to ensure I don't open it straight away, please address it to. 

Simon (Booktube)
Big Green Bookshop
Unit 1, Brampton Road, 
Wood Green. 
N22 6BG

With a bit of luck we'll have our first post up next week, but this is going to be an ongoing thing, so feel free to send me anything you think I might like.