In case you missed it, we’re celebrating turning fifteen this year. Seeing our birthday blog post prompted our very first (pre-opening) customer to write in, and we couldn’t resist sharing her story with you. Read on to find out the title of the very first book we ever sold (and since it was a ’pre-sale’, we’ll allow David to carry on believing the first real sale was The Once and Future King...).
“I just read your piece on the Bookshop’s opening in 2003, and recalled walking in with my friend Peter Campbell. I’d heard so much about it and was eager to see it before returning to New York. It was still in the final set-up stages. The register had come in earlier that day. The spanking new shelves were already sprinkled with some choice titles, and the place was new and so deeply familiar at the same time. New wood, new paper, an excitement that was palpable, the nervousness barely discernible, buried as it was in banter and book talk. A deep love of books already permeated the place – the deep knowledge the shop’s staff is known for today was there from the very beginning. I felt it was an extraordinary moment – to witness a bookshop coming to life before its doors had even opened for business. I asked if I could buy a book. It would be the Bookshop’s first sale. The receipt is marked 000003 but 000001 and 000002 were dry runs – just to see if the register worked. I preserved it. Here it is: the first official receipt from the Bookshop!
Clare Morrall’s Astonishing Splashes of Colour was my pick because I knew it was something I would not find easily back in the States. Coincidentally, the backdrop is a teatowel of a painting by Peter Campbell. His daughter, Jane, is a dear friend of mine and gave it to me earlier this month as she knows I am a great fan of Peter's work. It lies under glass on my kitchen table, where I often write. Fitting.”
Stay tuned for more reminiscences of fifteen years of bookselling.