Debbie Young Raises a Glass to a Cotswold Pub's Free Library Initiative
|Debbie Young is refreshed by Scottish mountain air|
Fate sent me a helping hand in the form of a request from the landlady of Dinneywick's pub in Kingswood, the next-but-one village from where I live in the Cotswolds. She asked me whether I could donate any secondhand books for the pub's new free library scheme.
I've had a Little Free Library on my front garden wall for a couple of years, and there are more like this popping up all over the country.
|My own Little Free Library|
A Bookish Pedigree for a PubAggie's interest in doing something similar came as no surprise. When she and her partner Guiseppe ran The Fox in Hawkesbury Upton, they gained a reputation as an innovative, energetic couple full of ideas for keeping a country pub afloat. One of these ideas was to support the first ever Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival when I founded it four years ago. They generously provided the venue, and for the next two Festivals were a key player in its success. As a tribute to their support, the cover of the first Festival's anthology sported a drawing of The Fox by Festival author and illustrator Sophie E Tallis.
|The Fox graced the cover of the inaugural HU Lit Fest Anthology|
Earlier this year they moved to the delightfully quaint Dinneywicks pub in Kingswood, near Wotton-under-Edge.
|"I'll have a pint of paperbacks, please."|
All of the books are donated, and I was glad to be able to deliver two large bags yesterday to help fill their shelves. Most of the books are in as-new condition.
|Aggie proudly presents the new Little Dinneys Library|
The eagle-eyed reader familiar with my Sophie Sayers Village Mystery novels may spot a brand new set of them on the second shelf down at the right hand side. I was happy to throw those in for free for three reasons:
- I was delighted to have the opportunity to return the favour that Aggie and Guiseppe did me when they were so supportive of the Hawkesbury Upton Lit Fest.
- I know that Dinneys will be actively luring eager readers to the pub to enjoy their new facility, so this is a useful opportunity for me to reach a new audience.
- When you're writing a series of novels, free sampling is a handy marketing technique, assuming that if a person receives a free book in the series and enjoys it, it's quite likely they'll go on to buy the rest of them.
When Free Books Act As Ambassadors for AuthorsIt's a similar situation to finding a book in a charity shop or jumble sale. When a reader picks up a book for £1 or even pence there, the author may not profit from that sale, but he does gain valuable exposure and a connection with a potential new fan. That fan may go on to snap up full-price copies from conventional bookshops after that.
I confess I only made this connection a few years back when I was interviewing Hereward Corbett, the proprietor of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshops in Nailsworth and Tetbury. I asked him whether he minded so many charity shops selling books in those towns, assuming he'd view them as competition undercutting his prices.
|Debbie Young with Hereward Corbett (photo by Chris Cuppage)|
|A country pub with books on the menu|
Of course, Dinneywick's isn't just about books: it's a delightful pub, which they've just refurbished to a very high standard, with a cosy, attractive interior, pleasant walled garden and terrific food. So if you're passing that way, do call in to see them - with or without a book to donate!
- For more information about Dinneywicks, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Dinneywicks/
- For more information about the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries, visit my website's Sophie section here: https://authordebbieyoung.com/books/fiction/sophie-sayers-village-mysteries/
- For more information about the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, visit www.hulitfest.com