Confessions of a Bookseller

One cozy, funny, year with a Scottish used bookseller as he stays afloat while managing staff, customers, and life in the village of Wigtown. This endearing world is the next best thing to visiting your favorite bookstore (shop cat not included).

Inside a Georgian townhouse on the Wigtown highroad, jammed with more than 100,000 books and a portly cat named Captain, Shaun Bythell manages the daily ups and downs of running Scotland’s largest used bookshop with a sharp eye and even sharper wit. His account of one year behind the counter is something no book lover should miss.

Shaun drives to distant houses to buy private libraries, meditates on the nature of independent bookstores (“There really does seem to be a serendipity about bookshops, not just with finding books you never knew existed, or that you’ve been searching for, but with people too.”), and, of course, finds books for himself because he’s a reader, too.

Confessions of a Bookseller is a warm and welcome memoir of a life in books. It’s for any reader looking for the kind of friend you meet in a bookstore.

Praise for Shaun Bythell and Confessions of a Bookseller

“Something of Bythell’s curmudgeonly charm may be glimpsed in the slogan he scribbles on his shop’s blackboard: ‘Avoid social interaction: always carry a book.’”
The Washington Post

“Bythell’s wicked pen and keen eye for the absurd recall what comic Ricky Gervais might say if he ran a bookshop.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Irascibly droll and sometimes elegiac, this is an engaging account of bookstore life from the vanishing front lines of the brick-and-mortar retail industry. Bighearted, sobering, and humane.”
Kirkus Reviews

“…amusing and often cantankerous stories [that] bibliophiles will delight in, and occasionally wince at…”
Publishers Weekly

“Bythell is a skillful writer . . . he creates a full, appealing world populated with colorful characters. The Scottish landscape—geese flying over the salt marsh, the meandering river where he likes to fish—is gorgeous . . . an endearing and thoughtful book.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A heart-warming love letter to books and bookshops, by an amenable fellow turned antisocial old misanthrope . . . brilliant . . .”
The Guardian

“Bythell remains an unwavering correspondent whose daily rambles reminds us of the joy in real bookshops.”
Fine Books & Collections Magazine

“Blythell’s witty descriptions of cheap customers, the drudgery and comfort of his daily routines and the consistent weather manages to create a sense of place strong enough to capture my flittery mind for long enough to feel settled-in near his fire.”
The Portland Press Herald

“The eccentric customers, strange incidents, and Bythell’s sharp wit prove that running a bookstore is anything but boring.”
The Westerly Sun

“…humorous, philosophical, personal, written by someone shaking his head at the eccentricities of his fellow human beings… an easy and entertaining read.”
Bound to Read

 

Godine, Publisher is distributed to the trade by Two Rivers Distribution, an Ingram brand. For more info, click here.

 

Watch a video by clicking above. Shaun Bythell reads a brief excerpt.

Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop, the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland, and also one of the organizers of the Wigtown Book Festival. His internationally-bestselling first book, The Diary of a Bookseller, has been translated into twenty-three languages and Dwight Garner (New York Times) called it “Among the most irascible and amusing bookseller memoirs I’ve read.”

When not working amongst The Bookshop’s mile of shelving, Shaun’s hobbies include eavesdropping on customers, uploading book-themed re-workings of Sugarhill Gang songs to YouTube and shooting Amazon Kindles in the wild. He lives in Wigtown, Scotland.