My Rite to Read

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cattle gazing, Ewe teasing and Book selling at the Royal highland show '12

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'The buffalo ate my homework, Miss,' moaned an eight year old.

'What do you mean?' boomed his teacher.

'It looked hungry, so I offered my en-cy-clo-pe-di-ya.'

Years later, he would die in his own plane crash; but he was the only one his classmates would remember as the kindest boy in class who fed his cattle books.

* * *

I spent this past weekend selling books at Publishing Scotland's stall in the Royal Highland Show 2012, Europe's largest agricultural show held in Ingliston each year at the draw of June. We were stall 837, in the corner between Silver Pride Jewellary and a pianist and organ seller who provided complete 10 hour live musical entertainment with his symphony and orchestra each day. This was the first time that Scotland's trade association for publishers decided to enter the trade fair as an exhibitor, to spread awareness about Scottish publishing, Scottish books and the importance of such a trade and knowledge resource at hand. The point was not necessarily commercial hard-sell, but a PR initiative, we were oriented. (For purely commercial activities Publishing Scotland already had a big presence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August each year, where the point is hard selling, and buyers overwhelming).

Footfalls at the Highland shop nevertheless increased by the day, as did sales pick up from a lean Thursday up into a frenzied Sunday. Katie's Ferm and Katie's Moose (Waverly) were probably top favourites on the books' list, nudged closely by Maisie's Activity Book for children and Animal Farm (the Scottish alphabet) as well as books on learning Gaelic, and books about the local wild and managing the native pinewood revealing a hitherto hidden demand for books by the Forest Commission. In between shifts, one experienced attractions like cooking demonstrations including by celebrities like Nick Nairn, horse racing, show jumps, sheep shearing, tug of wars, fleece shows, poultry paegants and caraways.