Literary Minute – The Diary of a Bookseller

“The Diary of a Bookseller” by Shaun Bythell was an eye-opening read that was both sarcastically humorous and sadly realistic when it starts to touch on some of the real issues faced by book shops today. Critics were excited about its debut saying it was,

Among the most irascible and amusing bookseller memoirs I’ve read.” –Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Warm, witty and laugh-out-loud funny…”—Daily Mail


If you think being a book shop owner is a quiet, boring, simple life then you have another thing coming. Bythell struggles with reigning in his more than eccentric employees, dealing with the hagglers who would go as far as to threaten purchasing the book through Amazon if the book isn’t lowered to their desired price, and even having to interact with the occasional strange patron that enters with a shifty gleam in their eye. This book is truly a unique account worth reading.

The novel starts by stating, “When Bythell first thought of taking over the store, it seemed like a great idea: The Bookshop is Scotland’s largest second-hand store, with over one hundred thousand books in a glorious old house with twisting corridors and roaring fireplaces, set in a tiny, beautiful town by the sea. It seemed like a book-lover’s paradise . . .”

As you read through each journal entry and witness every encounter, you can see Bythell change before your eyes. His personality, due to the insanity of being a bookseller in an age of nearly extinct book shops, is almost forced to change to account for the environment.

Overall, I would recommend this novel if you are a lover of books, specifically paper books (The author drags companies like Amazon through the mud over them stealing his customers and making his job that much more difficult). You will get a nice little treat with this novel, some humor, some sarcasm and an intricate look into Bythell and his new life.



“The Diary of a Bookseller” by Shaun Bythell

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