Shaun Bythell - owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop - is to publish his "wry and hilarious" diaries about bookselling with Profile Books.
Profile has acquired world rights (excluding Scandinavia and the Netherlands) to The Diary of a Bookseller from Jenny Brown at Jenny Brown Associates and will publish in August 2017.
The Bookshop contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with "twisting corridors" and "roaring fires", and all set in a rural town by the edge of the sea.
In his "wry and hilarious" diaries, Bythell provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes the reader with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a "sharp and sympathetic eye".
Profile commissioning editor Cecily Gayford said: “I’m beyond delighted that we’ve acquired Shaun’s brilliant account of life in the second-hand book trade. The Diary of a Bookseller is funny, sharp, observant and warm – the perfect introduction to the joys and horrors of running a bookshop, Wigtown and Galloway, and a life lived in books. Our only regret is that he wouldn’t give us a discount on the cover price, but we bought it anyway.”
Bythell said: “When I bought The Bookshop in 2001 I had a vague idea of what it might be like. None of my expectations proved to be correct. On a daily basis, I'm surprised by the questions customers ask, and the assumptions people make about the business, from how we acquire books to how we price them. The full spectrum of humanity passes through the doors of the shop – some haggle, some recommend books, some are spectacularly rude, some want to tell you their life story, and some want to know yours – and this diary is an attempt to record some of the more memorable encounters.”