Get on the Customer’s Shelf

“Booksellers are Pragmatists,” says Crispin Drummond, proprietor of P&G Wells independent booksellers in Winchester, “not Romanticists.”

The Shop at College Street

P&G Wells have been in the business of selling books for over 200 years. Crispin was sold the shop on College Street after one too many glasses of wine. His only credentials — he liked to read. A year of learning on the job followed. He learned that the horror stories are true; there are too many books, chain-stores are closing and yes, authors are getting a bad deal from publishers.

The bookseller is firmly on the side of the customer and P&G Wells’ first policy is to give thoughtful customers a wide choice. So, when looking at new titles, deciding what to stock, he considers the customer and listens to their wavelength. The bookseller will think on over 50,000 titles, of those they will stock roughly 8,000. For a pragmatist, choosing those titles is blissfully free of the sentimentalities suffered by the romanticist. Of course, he doesn’t do “blissfully”.

“The average British reader only buys 3 books a year.” Crispin reports, “5 at most.”

The bookseller’s customers will not be swayed by the Best Seller label, they can get those anywhere. It is the fresh books that sell. P&G Wells supports a far larger number of authors than any of the chain stores, regardless of who publishes them.

To get your book on the P&G Wells customers’ shelves, it must be well-written, it needs to have something new, bring something special to the shelf. The customers would not forgive the bookseller for offering them something that was run-of-the-mill. They do not buy the same-old, same-old.

“Obviously, the booksellers’ best time of the year is Christmas.” Crispin told the members and guests gathered, “When the ideal customer is the one who wants to buy presents for every member of their family. And P&G Wells has just the book for each of them.”

Crispin is the Hampshire Writers’ Society treasurer. He is the bookseller in the foyer at every Tuesday night meeting.

Report by Lisa Nightingale

HWS Are Looking for Two New Committee Posts

Publicity Manager

The new member of the Organizing Committee will have the job title ‘Publicity Manager’. He or she will be required to perform the following duties.

1) To publicize the events organized by the Hampshire Writers’ Society.

2) To use, for publicity purposes, an already existing list of contacts, and to seek to add to this list of contacts.

3) To attend the Society’s monthly Tuesday-evening events, and to assist in the smooth running of these events.

4) To attend the Society’s monthly Thursday-afternoon meetings of its Organizing Committee (normally at 4.00 p.m., on the third Thursday in the month, at West Downs, University of Winchester, Romsey Road, Winchester SO22 5HT).

Hampshire Writers’ Society will undertake to provide the Publicity Manager with a designated e-mail address (if required); it will not be possible to provide desk space or a computer. The Society runs on a goodwill basis, which means that all the positions on its Organizing Committee are unpaid.

From its foundation in 2011 the Hampshire Writers’ Society has grown steadily, in terms of both its membership and its range of operations. Recently, a vacancy has arisen with regard to the position of Publicity Manager on the Society’s Organizing Committee. The Society is now looking to fill this vacancy and invites expressions of interest, ahead of the Organizing Committee’s next scheduled meeting on 12 January 2017.

Website Manager

The new member of the Organizing Committee will have the job title ‘Website Manager’. He or she will be required to perform the following duties.

1) To manage the Hampshire Writers’ Society website, see hampshirewriterssociety.co.uk.

2) To receive postings for the website from other members of the Society’s Organizing Committee and to include these materials in the website’s general management, without any other person adding postings to the website.

3) As an option, to attend the Society’s monthly Tuesday-evening events and to assist in the smooth running of these events; attendance is optional rather than a requirement.

4) As an option, to attend the Society’s monthly Thursday-afternoon meetings of its Organizing Committee; attendance is optional rather than a requirement.

Hampshire Writers’ Society will undertake to provide the Marketing Manager with a designated e-mail address (if required); it will not be possible to provide desk space or a computer. The Society runs on a goodwill basis, which means that all the positions on its Organizing Committee are unpaid.

From its foundation in 2011 the Hampshire Writers’ Society has grown steadily, in terms of both its membership and its range of operations. Recently, the Society’s Organizing Committee has decided to add a Website Manager to its membership. The Society is now looking to fill this vacancy and invites expressions of interest, ahead of the Organizing Committee’s next scheduled meeting on 12 January 2017.