A few months ago we were approached by OUP to see if we would be willing to offer a prize for a raffle that they were running in support of the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. OUP are fantastic supporters of the shop so we put our heads together and came up with an idea. We settled on a sizeable Blackwell Voucher and an evening in the bookshop after hours for the winner and some friends.
The lucky winner was Mandy Hill, Publishing Director, Global Academic Publishing. She came along with hubby and four friends. They were all delightful.
We started in the Gaffer’s Office where we had a glass of something quite modest, chatted and perused our Visitor’s Book (Rolf Harris seemed to garner most excitement!) As we didn’t have any set plan we had wondered down to the Ground Floor and the browsing began. I was able to press a copy of New Finnish Grammar into the hands of one of our guests and she promised to consider it for her next book group.
Down in the Norrington Room I explained the complexities of staging a play for two months after hours, we talked about ebooks and the challenge facing bookshops on many fronts.
At the start of the evening I had explained that we have a very simple mission at Blackwell’s, namely to be the most loved, trusted and respected bookshop in the world. It dawned on me as the seven of us walked, browsed, recommended and discussed books and the state of the bookselling world that the evening was a template of how we would want the experience to be for every single customer that walks through our doors.