#bookaday 28: Bought at my fave independent bookshop

I love all independent bookshops. However, one of my favourite independent bookshop experiences was in Kirkwall, Orkney in 2007.

If you've ever been to Orkney - or hopefully even if you haven't, frankly - you'll be aware that the islands are very small, very remote and very sparsely populated. When we we decided to go, I hadn't known whether Kirkwall, Orkney's largest town (still smaller than the average village) would even have a bookshop, which meant I became slightly fretful when I realised we would be on holiday there when the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released. Would I be able to get hold of a copy? If not, would I be able to manage not to hear any spoilers before I got back to the mainland? I'm a colossal Potter nerd, and I had serious concerns.

Fortunately all my fears were unfounded, because Kirkwall is home to the excellent Orcadian Bookshop. It's an excellent, friendly, well-stocked bookshop owned by the local newspaper, and has a great mix of books, including local fiction, folklore and history as well as more mainstream reads. And not only did it manage to get its shipment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows over from the mainland in time for its launch day, it also held a midnight opening event, just like huge bookstore chains like Waterstones and Borders. When we were walking back to our hotel after a late meal, we saw a long queue of people - not all of whom were children - waiting excitedly for the doors to open on the dot of twelve, most of them dressed as witches and wizards and waving wands. I love the fact that an small, independent bookshop with a limited staff - and, let's face it, a captive audience; it's not like people would have had anywhere else to get their copy before the morning - still made an effort to open for a midnight launch, just to indulge people's excitement about a book. The anticipation on the faces of the kids in the queue said it all.

I didn't buy my copy at midnight but I did go in first thing in the morning. I can't remember if I paid full price for the hardcover book, or if they'd reduced the price to make it more competitive with the huge reductions being offered on Amazon, but even if they'd charged me double I wouldn't have dreamed of trying to buy the book elsewhere. 

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