There’s a very nice new independent small bookstore opened up in Edinburgh, Looking Glass Books, in one of the new structures in the Quartermile, the redeveloped former Royal Infirmary (which is a mix of the old buildings which have been renovated into high-end apartments and brand new, modern structures, mix of apartments, offices, cafes and now a wee bookstore). I liked the way the shelves were arranged to make the books much more browsable and encourage you to pick them up, rather than just trying to shove as many as possible onto a shelf. They also did something I used to do a lot in my former bookstore, lots of personal staff recommendations, with little personal mini-reviews on bands around the books from the staff, which I know from personal experience appeals to a lot of readers. Very nice cafe in the bookstore too, with very yummy cakes!
Enquiry of the Month goes to the elderly man with the long, straggly beard. In a time of many a stupid question he takes the ship’s biscuit for asking me where in Edinburgh he could obtain an 18th century sextant. Bear in mind I work in a bookstore, not a store specialising in purveying the finest navigational instruments of previous historical eras. When I told him I had no idea and that if anyone did have an 18th century sextant for sale it would most likely be at Christie’s Auction Rooms he was not amused. Shaking his greasy grey hair and ratty beard he explained to me that he was, of course, looking for a shop which sold replica 18th century sextants. Ah, I thinks, why didn’t you say that the first time? Have you tried Ye Olde Sextant Simulacra Store on the Canongate? It’s run by the Sea Captain from the Simpsons when he’s not filming the series… I love working with the public… I did try to be helpful but had no idea of where to help and he seemed most annoyed that I couldn’t tell him where to obtain replicas of 200 year old navigational devices.