Buy the Company of Fellows for 70p for Kindle in the UK

OK, so we know the coolest bookstore not just in Oxford but on the planet is the Albion Beatnik. But for some strange reason I intend to overturn before I die, it’s not yet the most famous. That title goes to Blackwell’s.

I’ve chosen now to write about Blackwell’s for a very simple reason – they are currently running a “best Oxford novel” poll on their blog. I’m not sure what the prize is, but I have a feeling there will be a window display, and I rather like the idea of print-on-demand copies of The Company of Fellows being in a window display nestling alongside its more respectable cousins. So it’d be SUPER-DUPER-FAB if you went and voted (vote “other” and type “The Company of Fellows” by Dan Holloway” in the box).

(public domain image from Wikipedia)

Anyway, back to Blackwell’s. There are four things I’d really like to say in order to give my usual personal twist on all things Oxford.

One, you will see above a picture of part of the Norrington Room, located in the basement. Nothing can really do justice to the scale of the room in pictures. You have to visit. As a student, I spent hours at a time in these Dante-esque circles of temptation, the lowest levels of which housed theology and philosophy books. At the height of my Bible-collecting mania (I had 23 different editions) most of my collection came from here.

Two, one of the first things we did as students was pick up a Blackwell’s card. This gave us £300 of credit. That usually lasted a day. And as soon as I’d cadged enough from the bank to pay it off, it’d somehow miraculously be full again.

Three, the first book I bought in Oxford was a copy of Nancy Mitford’s The Sun King. I bought it whilst up for interview in 1988 and it came from the secondhand department on the top floor.

Four, Blakcwell’s will buy many books back. There was a time when I couldn’t afford the bus fare to work. The only way of digging myself from the hole was to sell many of my Oxford Classic Collection editions of Virgil, Plato and the like.


~ by danholloway on May 30, 2011.

7 Responses to “Blackwell’s”

  1. Hi Dan – I put the Favourite Oxford Novel poll on our blog. No prize, just interested to see the current preferences out there. We will do a display and mention the voting and, of course, we would like to feature The Company of Fellows. If you’re able to drop into the shop ask for me, Euan, and we can sort out supply of copies. Alternatively you can email me euan.hirst (at) blackwell dot co dot uk

    Thanks for sharing your other memories of the shop – because of our size we can appear quite impersonal and, to some people, intimidating. I like the fact that using blogs, twitter and facebook we have the opportunity to show a bit more personality and maintain a more personal relationship with customers.

    I, too, like what Dennis is doing at the Albion Beatnik and wish him every future success – Oxford needs quality bookshops whether they be chain or indie, large or small.

    Hope that you don’t mind me replying in this way…


  2. Hi Euan,
    Thank you so much for getting in touch. I’ll come in and say hi next week 🙂

    I never really saw Blackwell’s as impersonal (certainly not the Oxford store anyway) – one guy in particular I remember from the Classics section in the early 90s who was a real character.

    Very best
    Dan 🙂

  3. Nice one – look forward to meeting you and to selling The Company of Fellows again. I guess that the guy in Classics is Peter, he’s still with us even though he is past retirement age now. A real character is about right!


  4. 🙂 That’s why Blackwell’s isn’t impersonal – because it’s not a big store, it’s a village with lots of little shops

  5. That’s kind of you to say, Dan. Always more that we can do to be accessible to customers, publishers and authors, but it is happening!

  6. Well, well, well! We are going to have to stock the book now since you’ve only gone and won the poll 😉 Hearty congratulations!

  7. Thank you so much Euan! – I’ve written a thank you post. I’ll come in and say hello tomorrow or Friday 🙂

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