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The Diary of a Bookseller

(The Diary of a Bookseller #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  19,921 ratings  ·  3,440 reviews
Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published September 28th 2017 by Profile Books
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Maria It’s the number of books that came in as online orders that they were able to actually find in the shop. Took me a while to figure it out too.
Booksdingle I got the impression he was doing both at the same time so this is a fair question - I am only 51 pages into this book, but he has already said that h…moreI got the impression he was doing both at the same time so this is a fair question - I am only 51 pages into this book, but he has already said that his Amazon rating dropped from fair to poor - maybe it’s because he’s sold several books in store before being able to fulfil the order online?! (less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Call me crazy but I've always wondered when I die what will happen to all my books. My house is overflowing with them. Nobody else reads them but me. The Diary of a bookseller made me think I'm not so crazy after all. It appears there are way more crazier people in the world. It also appears most of them frequent this book shop.

The funny stories abound with a daily summary of a day in the life of a bookseller in Scotland's largest 2nd hand book shop in the charming little village of Wigtown whe
Amalia Gkavea
These are the experiences of Shaun Bythell, a bookseller in Wigtown in beautiful Scotland, in diary format. The working days, the interesting customers (problematic or not), the co-workers, the struggle to support a second-hand bookshop (the second largest in the country) in the era of technology, everything that makes bookselling such a fascinating and exhausting profession is included in this book. Despite the positive reviews and my high expectations, I have to say that I didn’t enjoy reading ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am always a sucker for books about books so I knew I had to read this as soon as I saw the title and the cover. So glad I did!

The bookseller of the title is the author himself, Shaun Bythell. He lives in Wigtown, Scotland where this beautiful bookshop actually exists. How I would love to go and see it! Shaun has a rather snarky sense of humour which had me laughing out loud. I also found myself doing that totally annoying thing of reading bits out loud to anyone who happened to be nearby at th
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I’ve read so far this year! This is a book for all book lovers or people who secretly wish to work in a bookstore.
Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland, and with this book he shares his diary from 2014 in which he writes about everything going on in the store as well as in Wigtown. I had to get used to his tone of voice which is very pessimistic and abrupt - but in a funny way I grew to find this tone of voice hilarious and endearing, and after all, Shaun By
Sean Gibson
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are a few professions that you know going in are never going to lead to you having eff you money. Teacher, public defender, librarian, fashion designer for one-legged armadillos…all of these are things you have to absolutely love if you’re going to make them your life’s work. You can add secondhand bookseller to that list.

Enter Shaun Bythell, owner and proprietor of The Bookship in Wigtown (Scotland’s largest secondhand bookstore), who willingly accepts the economic challenges of owning a
A reread. In April I finally made it to Wigtown, the Book Town of Scotland, and The Bookshop [for the life of me I cannot determine whether it should be The Bookshop or The Book Shop; the name on the website/Facebook page is different from the storefront!], a wonderfully rambling place with lots of nooks and crannies housing all sorts of categories. (Look out for the shot and mounted Kindle, the Festival bed, the stuffed badger, and the scroll of bookseller’s rules.) Luckily, on our visit we fou ...more
This book is going straight onto my shelf of all time favourites. I really enjoyed reading Shaun Bythell's diary of the trials, tribulations and occasional triumphs of being a bookseller.

In 2001, after having difficulty settling on a career he enjoyed, Shaun bought The Book Shop in his home town of Wigtown, in the Galloway region of Scotland. Some years later he started a diary and a facebook site to record the interactions with his customers, but over the months it developed into so much more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Diary of a Bookseller is the first person account of Shaun Bythell, owner of The Bookshop, a large second hand bookstore in Scotland. Over the course of the year 2014, Bythell keeps a diary of daily encounters from the shop.

Some days are better than others. Irritating customers are a given. Bythell has a consistent dry sarcasm, and the details of the shop’s daily happenings are amusing.

“Any bookseller will tell you that, even with 100,000 books neatly sorted and shelved in a well-lit, warm
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2019-09

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Nonfiction + Memoir

Shaun Bythell tells us about his experience after buying this big second-hand bookshop in Wigtown which is considered the second-largest bookshop there, the challenges he faced to keep it up and running in our era in which technology has advanced a lot where there are other forms of reading other than buying physical books.

The book is written as the title suggests, in a diary format. The diary has daily entries for about a year. It tells the reader what i
Nat K
”Of course, one person’s good book is another person’s bad book; the matter is entirely subjective.”

For me, this book is quirky (with a capital “Q”).

The story meanders along, a bit like life really. Mostly routine and humdrum, with little flecks of highlights and happiness. A journal of sorts, of the trials and tribulations of a bookseller, and in a second hand bookstore at that.

Not a lot happens, but there are little gems that had me laughing out loud such as…

”An elderly customer told me that
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bookstores
What a depressing book! Bythell manages to make one of my favorite destinations, a used bookstore, feel like an unwelcoming hellhole. The book is a gloomy, lazily written diary of his daily transactions peppered with snarky, mean-spirited comments about his customers. There is very little in this book about reading or even books - except as crumbling objects to buy and sell.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Books excite me, but reading a book about a bookshop, excites me just that little bit more. I haven't came across many books in this kind of genre, so I really made the most of this one. The book shop, is ran by Shaun Bythell, and is located in Wigtown, Scotland. It is a seemingly successful second-hand book shop, and this book contains the diary of Bythell, which he kept for a year, and has all the events of each day recorded in it.
Now, I use Amazon for books very often, and it is due to Amazo
Sophie Crane
I SO enjoyed this book! It's well written, funny and the diary format is great for those who love books and reading but lead busy lives. I'm very envious of Shaun Bythells idyllic life in his wonderful bookish world in the wilds of Scotland.
Is this a 'one off' or will there be more installments, I suspect there's plenty of material to fill a few more if Shaun has the time and inclination?
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good read. Shaun Bythell did a nice job of writing this book. It’s a year in the life of him running his second-hand bookstore in a small Scottish village called Wigtown. He buys books at estate sales or in people’s houses or in the store, and he sells books in the store and online (Amazon, Abebooks).

Each chapter is a month of the year (starting on February 1, 2014 and ending on January 30, 2015) and within each month are diary entries with sundry facts such as what’s in the til
Oct 21, 2017 rated it did not like it

It it not easy to write a book in the diary format without falling into the trap of repeating yourself. I got up, opened the shop, Nicky was late. How very often did those words recur. It takes a writer of considerably more skill and imagination to make a diary interesting. One who can offer nuggets of insight (perhaps in response to the books he was reading above the bald comment "I enjoyed it") or the odd piece of imagery. This book failed on those counts. It had the stock in trade ornery empl
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Shaun Blythell would be sore that I read his book on a Kindle but it was an eARC of the US edition, what could I do. I enjoyed his diary of a year of bookselling - the customers, the small book town in Scotland, little hints into what he is reading and thinking, and the looming enemy of Amazon. His sense of humor is part curmudgeon... hmm, no, it's all curmudgeon. It makes him read as much older than he is, but that could just be the Scottish-American disconnect. I love that Scotland has a town ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

One of my favourite comedies from the early '00's was Black Books, a comedy set in a second hand book shop and starring Dylan Moran as a misanthropic book seller who hates people and drinks copious amounts of wine. This is the book equivalent to that comedy, and I absolutely loved it.

The book outlines a year in the life of Shaun Bythell, owner of The Book Shop, and his daily interactions with customers and excur
Alice Lippart
Really enjoyable, and I love the grumpy tone of the author.
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable read which made me laugh out loud now and again. I learned about managing an bookshop and from now on I will see them with different eyes. I might as well go on with his next book, Confessions.
Johann (jobis89)
“An elderly customer told me that her book club’s next book was Dracula, but she couldn’t remember what he’d written.”

Imagine reading the work diary of someone whose job follows a regular pattern each day, doing the same general activities, and that’s basically what reading this book was like - with some humorous anecdotes thrown in!

The Diary of a Bookseller is comprised of a year of diary entries from secondhand book shop owner, Shaun Bythell. And I have to admit, learning about how a secondhan
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Readers are intelligent, knowledgeable, appreciate and support their local bookshop. And as you are reading this right now you would agree.
But the people in this true tale are the exact opposite.

As the title states this is a diary of each day in a bookseller's life.

Combat trousers
At noon a woman in combat trousers and a beret came to the counter with six books, including two nearly new, expensive art books in pristine condition. The total for the books came to £38; she asked for a discount,
Paul Secor
Shaun Bythell kept a one year diary covering his book shop - and also his life and the lives of some of those around him. It's a very entertaining read, though I wish that he had given more ink to some of the more pleasant experiences that probably occurred in his shop. (I'm sure that there must have been more than he related.) The more bizarre or annoying experiences made good reading, but more positive experiences would have made for a better balanced book. Mr. Bythell seems to be a bit of a c ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a true bibliophile, I have always loved books about bookshops and the book industry. Also, Black Books, the old tv series about a bookshop and it’s cantankerous alcoholic owner, is one of my favourite shows as well. As a result this book is a match made in Heaven for me. While not as rude, belligerent, or gross as the owner of the shop in Black Books, the author, and owner of the shop in the book, Shaun Bythell, does have a similarity when it comes to customer relations. The book is basica ...more
greta ☁️
Sep 29, 2020 rated it liked it
it wasn't as funny as the blurb made it out to be. there were a couple times i smiled to myself but what's funny about it? i mainly got pissed off reading because of the rude customers 😩
so the author of this book is actually a bookseller and his shop is based in Wigtown, Scotland. in his diary he speaks about a life within his bookshop's walls, his town, book deals and all sorts of things. it took me longer to read this book than i was thinking but here i am, annoyed with the customers
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Shaun Bythell probably has the life every bookworm has dreamt of having. He lives in a quiet, beautiful little town in Scotland, mostly untouched by mass tourism. He owns an obese, lordly cat, he gets along with his neighbours, he has plenty of whimsical friends. And he owns a bookshop.

Owning an independent bookshop is not the same as being a book-seller at Waterstones or Barnes and Noble. Shaun has no employer, has no need to please costumers or to put up with the most unsavory parts of r
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended to me by a friend about 6 months ago, and I picked up a copy relatively cheaply the other day, and I am glad I did.

This is a very easy read, and an entertaining one too. It is diarised (as you might expect from the title), with each daily entry ranging from a paragraph to a page or two at most. Each day we are told how many online orders are received, and how many of those can be fulfilled (eg books found to fill the order - not always all of the orders!). We then get the ex
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who would've thought I'd have tears in my eyes as I closed this book? So, a five it gets.

I can highly recommend this book to most any reader, especially those of us who have dreamed of owning our own bookshops. The shop owner (and author) is as crotchety as they come, but at his heart, he is a good man who cares about his community. There is a touch of the romantic in there, too. I found him an interesting person to get to know, and I really hope he keeps writing.

This book made me laugh out lo
Diane Barnes
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun book to read for anyone who has been a bookseller, or anyone in a retail environment really. Sometimes customers defy description.
I chose to read this a few entries at a time, as diaries can be tedious when read straight through. Perfect bedtime reading.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful book about books & book selling.

I already know what book I'm getting my friends for Christmas because this was hilarious & spoke to my misanthropic heart.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2018
Wigtown is a beautiful rural town nestling in the south west of Scotland, and it has been designated as Scotland's official BookTown. It is home to a range of bookshops and book-related businesses as well as its own book festival. The Bookshop in Wigtown is Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop, with around 100,000 items of stock and miles of shelves, an open fire and nooks and crannies to lose yourself in.

The proprietor of this bibliophile heaven is Shaun Bythell and on the 5th February 2014,
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Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town, and also one of the organisers of the Wigtown Festival.

When not working amongst The Bookshop’s mile of shelving, Shaun’s hobbies include eavesdropping on customers, uploading book-themed re-workings of Sugarhill Gang songs to YouTube and shooting Amazon Kindles in the wild.

Other books in the series

The Diary of a Bookseller (2 books)
  • Confessions of a Bookseller

News & Interviews

  Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people love books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts through...
15 likes · 1 comments
“I am putting a mental jigsaw together of what a hobbit looks like, based on a composite of every customer I have ever sold a copy to.” 28 likes
“A woman spent about ten minutes looking around the shop, then told me that she was a retired librarian. I suspect she thought that this was some sort of a bond between us. Not so. On the whole, booksellers dislike librarians. To realise a good price for a book, it has to be in decent condition, and there is nothing librarians like more than taking a perfectly good book and covering it with stamps and stickers before – and with no sense of irony – putting a plastic sleeve over the dust jacket to protect it from the public. The final ignominy for a book that has been in the dubious care of a public library is for the front free endpaper to be ripped out and a ‘DISCARD’ stamp whacked firmly onto the title page, before it is finally made available for members of the public to buy in a sale. The value of a book that has been through the library system is usually less than a quarter of one that has not.” 14 likes
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