Friday 28 November 2014

New Sainsbury at Westwood Cross and a ramble for Black Friday.

All of the pictures illustrating this post were taken at the new WC Sainsbury this evening, the whole supermarket is upstairs above part of the car park, I would guess it is around twice the size of the old WC Sainsbury.
 It has a much larger range of clothing, TVs, kitchen equipment and of course the food side is much larger.
 For me the main snag today was the alarms, out of the hour that we were there was a loud shrieking alarm going off for about half the time, as far as I could see this was mostly caused by the display of pad computers which seemed to have alarms adjusted to go off when people looked at them.
 Considering it is Black Friday today there didn’t seem to be much activity there.
 I think the big advantage from my point of view will be the café which has large windows and looks like a go good place to sketch WC from while the female part of my family are doing what ever it is they do at WC.
 I managed to find a pullover exactly the same as the one I was wearing and as it seems to be ok I bought a spare one. My attitude to shopping is rather along the lines of if I discover a sock I like then I endeavour to 50 or so in the hope I will never have to buy socks again.

 On to the ramble, the new Sainsbury organisation meant I forgot to get an Isle of Thanet Gazette, so here are a few links to articles on their website.

 The old roller rink near the doctors is to become an antiques centre
 It seems the policing of the live animal export protests was a bit OTT, it often seemed to be the officers nearly outnumbered protesters
 The council are trying to get the costs for stopping Cllr Ian Driver revealing information about the Pleasurama development paid by Cllr Ian Driver
 A quick glance at other internet sites suggests that Oscar Maynard one of the founders of the Save Manston Airport FaceBook Group has been banned from the group, just what this signifies I don’t really know.
 Nigel Farage seems to be very supportive of a freight hub at Manston, presumably to cement stronger trading links with Europe.
I will ramble on if I think of anything else.    

Wednesday 26 November 2014

A blog from the bookshop about collecting books on collecting, James Patterson and reading the American teenager and some sort ramble

The last time I went around my bookshop looking up all the books and making sure they were cheaper than you could buy them on the internet was about eighteen months ago and I have just started the process again.

I started today on the antiques and collecting section, I have only done the bit covering clocks and instruments. There is marked change to last time I did this, which is mostly that the steady reduction in prices seems to have levelled out.

The main way I determine the right price for a book is to look it up on Amazon and then check it against the sold listings on ebay. A key here being that anyone can list anything online for any price they like, but the history of people actually buying something and what they have paid for it is a very different thing.

When I last adjusted the prices of the books on my shelves I would say around half of them had sold for less on ebay in three months prior to looking them up. Of course this does mean that around 50% could have been bought cheaper in my bookshop.

This time the amount those that have sold cheaper on ebay than I have them on the selves for is around 10%. Sorting out the antiques and collecting section this way just isn’t enough to produce a large enough amount of price reductions to keep the stock alive so I have resorted to the pre internet method of reducing books that have been on the shelf too long as well.

I have decided that the way forward with non-fiction sections is to make part of them entirely books that are priced for less than £1.

The pricing structure in my bookshop means that books priced for less than £20 go out on the shelves the rest go on shelving behind the till and people have to ask to look at them. a major factor here is that many expensive books are expensive because they are delicate item that have survived in fine condition, so this is an essential.

This picture shows the clock part of the book stock that isn’t out on the shelves priced between £20 and £200

You then go onto clock related books that are more expensive.

Or you can go out on a limb with the fragile stuff that is both very scarce but not that expensive.

I have also been labelling up the craft section that I sorted out recently.

The old problem of small and delicate books I have tried to solve here with a separate bookcase.

On to James Patterson who has started a campaign to save the book, part of which is to petition the president of America and senior politician to be see regularly carrying a book. You can look on his facebook page if you want to know more about this

The main thing that this is about is that in America the teenage reading problem seems to have gone critical.

The average American teenager watches more than three hours of video entertainment a day...And reads books for less than eight minutes a week. As the amount of reading people do is directly related to how the succeed in life, their ability to concentrate and the standard of education the achieve this is a serious one.         

Using the internet and even e-books isn’t the whole answer, I myself am researching various aspects of historic shipbuilding at the moment and on several occasions have bought e-books or in one case a print on demand book where either the print quality or the gibberish related to ocr was so bad that I have just bought the expensive original book.

With young people however I am concerned that a very big issue is that they learn by example and if their parents aren’t seen by them to be reading books, borrowing books from the library, buying books and owning books then they are less likely to read themselves. I don’t think mum and dad staring at a gadget cuts the mustard, even if the gadget is some sort of electronic reader.

The ramble comes next, the Manston issue is still rumbling on online, however my take is that it isn’t in the forefront of most people’s minds at the moment, however I will try my best to summarise the position at the moment next.  

Well I have just had a glance at the Save Manston Airport Facebook page and at the moment a lot of the members seem convinced that cabinet are going to turn down the cpo so there is much ranting about not voting for the cabinet.

I think the point that has perhaps been missed is that you would have to be a resident in a particular member’s ward to vote for them and of course most of the cabinet members have safe seats anyway.

Delving deeper there, convincing arguments; like instead of the council listening to their own solicitors to see if the firms wishing to deal with the council pose any risk to the council why don’t the council listen to the solicitors of the firms wishing to deal with the council.   

To be honest it wasn’t a very encouraging delve regardless of what your intentions are for the Manston site. I suppose anything makes sense one you have formed a Delaware LLC or a Virgin Islands company.

 Since moving the blog here nearly all of the old spam comments have disappeared and I am getting a much more realistic idea of the number of people reading the current active posts as the stats don’t include all the people accessing the thousands of old posts on Thanetonline. The active readership seems to be about 250 per day, but I am developing a completely new type of spam from people trying to promote their books.     

Sunday 23 November 2014

New Ramsgate book published tomorrow and a minor ramble

I have finished “A Tale of Ramsgate Dairyman - No Yoke for the Milkman” by Charles Morris Walford, this is A5 format about 100 pages fairly small print priced at £5.99.

I found this one a very relaxing local read, if you want to buy it online here is the link

The author moved to Ramsgate in 1922 aged 16 and lived in Ramsgate until he died in 2000 aged 99 the book covers the period from 1922 to the time he wrote it in 1963 and I think will make an ideal stocking filler for anyone with an interest in Ramsgate during that period.

The business of milk distribution was critical one to the development of any town before the invention and widespread use of domestic refrigerators, as far as I can see there is virtually no information published about it or the people involved, so apart from being a biography of well regarded Ramsgate businessman there is some content about milk distribution that I don’t think is available elsewhere.

For me though the area of interest is that this book is about someone working in Ramsgate during the period immediately before I first moved here. 

On the local interest front I don’t think there is anything much of import going on at the moment, the new Sainsbury at Westwood Cross is due to open on Wednesday, as it is going to create 150 new jobs I am assuming that it will be considerably larger than their existing supermarket at WC.

Here is the link to their website and I am pretty sure milk bottles won’t figure in the equation.

On the Pleasurama front Cllr Ian Driver has capitulated and given up trying to overturn the high court ruling over his leaking information about the deal with the council to allow the development to continue.

A spin off of this was the reason I moved my blog from to here which partly had to do with what an American interpretation of the British have to say. I figured that if the council sent a solicitors letter, backed by the ruling of a high court judge, to Google, complaining about content then Google could delete the whole blog.

I would guess that neither the council, their solicitors, the judge or Google would care about it much, but I thought it would be nuisance to the people who read the older posts with local history and picture content.    

At the moment my understanding is that investigations into the structural integrity of the cliff façade are ongoing.

The Manston airport issue is still ongoing and I guess the key to this one will be the site valuation if things ever get that far, in the meantime most of those who say they support the airport seem to have become diverted into the business of protest rather than sticking to an objective that preserves some aviation use at Manston.

I don’t think it is so much a question whether TDC stop pursuing a cpo as when, with the longer the delay, the greater the cost to council taxpayers. My main concern is that without TDC supporting discovery Parks and their intention to invest £1bn in Thanet we could wind up with no investment, a long legal battle and another long term derelict site in Thanet.    

On the bookshop front, the degree of extra business is continuing, I am still trying to work out why, as far as I can see increased book sales are across the board. My bookshop has just short of a thousand shelves, both fiction and non fiction and on most subjects, the space on the shelves seems to in all the sections.

I have just been around the shop and taken a few pictures with my mobile, below. As you can see. What? Well I suppose a lot of books, from my point of view it is fairly difficult to work out what is going on, I would say a large estate car with the back seat down filled to the roof with books would equate to about one book on each shelf assuming they were a mixture of large and small.

Talking to customers and trying to work out the whys and wherefores I think this may be partly to do with a settling down of the way we use text and picture media storage, obviously books form part of this and I am trying to produce a book stock weighted towards the areas where the printed book is the best medium. I also think a very big factor is leisure related, until the internet came along non food and clothes shopping formed a fairly significant part of our leisure activities. When you take the remaining non food and clothes shops and you extract the ones selling products that are significantly more expensive than the same products cost on the internet there isn’t much left and most of what is left isn’t very good. Perhaps another issue is with the books available in the public libraries, rather like the big chain booksellers the focus seems to be on the internet, but not on the areas where the book is a better medium. A much expanded are of my bookshop is the children’s book section, I am convinced that children need to read to be successful in life and am fairly certain that much of the reason they do this is because they see the adults around them reading, buying themselves books, borrowing books from the library, having books on their shelves at home and using books to find things out. A big worry to me is that with many parents moving to using technology exclusively for their reading, their children are not experiencing the example of adults reading which can only really be shown with a physical book.

Anyway having probed around some of the areas, rather like a hole in a tooth, I am still really none the wiser as to why my bookshop is so much busier than it was last year.   

Anyway here are the pictures, I have tried not to repeat any parts of the book shelving.

I don't think you really need to expand the pictures, the idea was just to show the magnitude of the stock and hence the difficulty involved in trying to work out why much more than usual is selling.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Jason Robbins at The York Street Gallery Ramsgate

The current Exhibition is by Jason Robbins
Originally from Cornwall Jason who is now Ramsgate based brings a new collection of work to the gallery for his first solo show with us. The exhibition runs -  19th Nov - 26th Nov.