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BfK’s Brilliant Children’s Bookshops

Welcome to Storytellers, Inc. Lancashire

Carolyn Clapham set up specialist children’s bookshop Storytellers, Inc. in November 2010 with her daughter Katie. Located in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, the shop focuses on creating a welcoming environment for its younger visitors and runs a strong programme of creative writing and poetry workshops for children. Katie, who won the Sue Butterworth Young Bookseller of the Year Award at the Bookseller Industry Awards, describes what goes on.


torytellers, Inc., our independent children’s bookshop in Lytham St. Annes is two years old now. We had our second birthday in December, and a bumper month of

Christmas sales left us feeling pretty satisfied with the way things were going. Long enough to enjoy the three days we took off at Christmas, anyway. Now we’re in the depths of January and we’re lucky if more than five people come through the door all day – including the postmen and couriers. But we can’t let the date deter us and we’ve got some seriously committed customers, so it’s onwards and upwards for 2013.

This year I’ve planned a new promotion that will run through the whole year – the Illustrated Year project is based around a calendar that we’ve produced and sold through the shop. The Storytellers, Inc. Illustrators Calendar, designed in-house and printed locally, features an illustration by a top current illustrator each month. In the shop we’ll be promoting each illustrator in their corresponding month with special offers and events. For schools, we put together a bundle that includes a calendar for the classroom and gift-wrapped delivery of a picture book by that month’s artist along with a sheet of activity. I want each classroom to have their own monthly picture book event in our Illustrated Year whilst giving schools an opportunity to refresh their picture book libraries with some new additions.

We make recommendations and suggestions to customers all the time but our own promotions are another way of making sure books

18 Books for Keeps No.198 January 2013

that we feel really excited about get some attention, so this month we’re celebrating everything Chris Riddell, our January illustrator. His Ottoline series is already a good seller for us so we want to showcase the incredible range of books he has worked on. We’re hoping to sell lots of his Far-Flung Adventures to our Ottoline addicts and move some of the older readers on to the Barnaby Grimes books and The Edge Chronicles series. I love illustrated fiction and it’s great to have some books for teens that feature such beautiful drawings, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Coraline as well as some classics like Gulliver’s Travels and Don Quixote are all available with illustrations by Riddell.

We’ve retained our single-copy policy to keep our stock at maximum variety, with the rare exception of titles we’re working on with schools or promoting, or pre-orders of the odd new title, but us for ordering two copies of

something is a pretty big deal. We know that it’s the diverse range and our knowledge that keeps our customers coming back. It keeps us at a bit of a distance from blockbusters and best sellers. We showcase each month’s new titles on separate display but we make our own bestsellers through my own scheme, Cool Books in School which runs each term. Last term I used Shrunk! by Fleur Hitchcock, Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner and Phantom Pirates by Daren King. They’ve gone down really well and sales on those authors have continued into the New Year. This term I’ll be championing Northwood by Brian Falkner and Shrinking Violet Definitely Needs a Dog by Lou Kuenzler. Work with local schools is really important to us, especially in a month like this when shop footfall is significantly lighter. We take regular orders from several

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