Meet the stockistUllapool Bookshop

Tuesday 15th November 2022

Candlestick Press

You’ll find Candlestick in all sorts of unexpected places – wool shops, cafes and bakeries, galleries, museums and National Park Visitor Centres – as well as book and gift shops, of course. In a new occasional series, we go out and about to meet some of the wonderful indie stockists who help get our pamphlets out into the world.

Katharine Douglas

Katharine Douglas, bookshop manager

First up is Ullapool Bookshop where we meet the manager Katharine Douglas. Katharine joined the bookshop team in 2011 and became manager in 2017. She works alongside Izabela, Libby and Jon who help her keep the wheels turning.

  • Please tell us a little about Ullapool Bookshop and its history.
  • Ullapool Bookshop opened in 2003 and the building dates back to the 1800s. It’s joined on to an older building from the 1780s which used to be a salt building for the herring industry and is now a gift shop called The Captain’s Cabin. There’s also another shop called Lochbroom Hardware. Katrina and William Thompson run all three and it’s very much a family business.

    Ullapool Bookshop exterior

  • Could you describe a typical customer?
  • Our mainstay over the winter is our strong local customer base. Ullapool has a population of only about 1500 people but lots of them seem to be keen readers! Over the summer, it’s a different story – we’re often full of visitors and holidaymakers from other parts of the UK (and further afield) who can take advantage of the fact that the bookshop is open from 9 am to 9pm. They tend to be interested in non-fiction books about the local area and its history and geology, as well as books about Scotland more generally.
  • Most bookshops hold events such as readings. Are these important for you?
  • Definitely! We hold readings and book signings throughout the year. We have an annual late night shopping event with readings when our Christmas lights are switched on, which is always really popular. For example, a couple of years ago, we had a reading based around Candlestick’s Christmas Lights title which contained a poem by local poet Stephen Keeler.
  • Where do you display your Candlestick pamphlets?
  • We use your free POS right by the till and we make sure we update the selection on a regular basis – to reflect the time of year and showcase the most recent titles.
    Candlestick POS
  • Do you have a Candlestick best seller?
  • Without doubt it’s Christmas Lights. The beautiful cover with the creel Christmas tree could even be Ullapool! Funnily enough, people buy it all year round. Not far behind are Ten Poems about Baking and Ten Poems about Bees.
  • If we could make a wish come true and publish a Candlestick title specially for your shop, what would it be?
  • Perhaps Ten Poems about Rocks. People who come into the shop are often very interested in the area which has a very particular geology.
  • Any personal Candlestick favourites?
  • For me it’s any of your lovely nature titles.
  • What are your ambitions for the bookshop in the future?
  • I think it would be to build relationships with more local businesses. I have in my mind the idea of shared events with a local deli or café. Ten Poems about Baking could certainly feature in something like that!
    Ullapool Bookshop interior