James Shaw, the Edinburgh International Book Festival's long-serving head of book sales and retail, is stepping down in October 2018.
His departure follows more than a decade managing the Festival's book sales operations, since 2004, during which time he has overseen the expansion of the business. The Festival's shops, one of which is a large speciality children’s book shop, now achieve sales of more than 60,000 books over the 18 days of the festival each August.
Shaw has been responsible for introducing the EPOS system, and working with Nielsen BookScan to include the data from the Book Festival sales in their monthly sales figures. And this year in 2017 he launched the Festival's third bookshop in George Street as part of the its expansion out of Charlotte Square Gardens.
"Running the retail operation for the Edinburgh International Book Festival has been an incredible experience," Shaw commented. "It has been a great privilege to work with so many talented colleagues and contributors. Each year the festival as a whole seems to get better and each year after the festival I ask myself, ‘How on earth did we do that?'"
Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, thanked Shaw for his dedication, and said he would be much missed: "Under James Shaw’s guidance the Book Festival shops have become an unmissable part of the festival experience for adults and children alike. Not only has it been a great pleasure to work with him, but I have also been enormously impressed by James’s skills as a bookseller," he said. "James has built some of the best-respected independent bookstores in Scotland, which also happen to be the most successful festival bookshops anywhere in the world. I’d like to thank him for his dedication: we will miss him very much.”
Although Shaw will be continuing as head of book sales and retail until October 2018, the Festival is now seeking to appoint a head of booksales and retail (designate) from March 2018 "to ensure continuity".