Glenogle & Bell is owned and run by Malcolm and Vanessa Robertson. In 2007, we founded The Edinburgh Bookshop and over the next few years, we achieved recognition in the trade but most importantly from our customers who appreciated the time and effort we put into choosing the best stock for our shop. Children’s bookselling was a particular strength and one of our proudest achievements was reaching the national shortlist (of four) for Independent Children’s Bookseller of the Year – we didn’t win but we did get to eat our dinner next to the diplodocus skeleton in the central hall at the Natural History Museum in London which was some consolation.
Other recognition included being flatteringly described by Alexander McCall Smith in the Financial Times as ‘the city’s finest independent bookseller’ (truly, he is the loveliest man) and appearing on BBC Scotland’s Book Cafe to talk about our favourite books and other things happening in the book world. We ran countless events with authors including Neil Gaiman, Ian Rankin, Maggie O’Farrell, Barry Hutchison, Mairi Hedderwick and Nicola Morgan. In 2012 we decided to sell the shop and the very last thing we achieved was to win Best Bookshop at the Scottish Independent Retail Awards.
The bookshop continues to go from strength to strength but we missed bookselling. After a series of incidents such as being accosted by a former customer in Waterstones and asked for recommendations we realised that we had a lot of knowledge and experience that was being wasted. With Glenogle & Bell we have returned to bookselling in a way which means most of our attention can be focussed on our book selection and customer service rather than the stresses of dealing with staff and leaky roofs!
Vanessa is the main buyer and can normally be found curled up with a pile of proofs and catalogues. Malcolm is in charge of logistics and spreadsheets and complains about spending too much time moving boxes and not enough reading. Our teenage son reads many of the Young Adult titles – he grumbles that he’s press-ganged but on the quiet he rather likes it. We live in Edinburgh in a cottage that’s bursting at the seams with books and although we’re only 10 minutes’ walk from the very centre of the city we have kingfishers and an otter in the river at the end of our road – it’s as near to an urban idyll as you can get.