Monday, December 21, 2009

Online Shopping - we know you do it but now do it with us!

Sad news all around for the booktrade, Borders gone as from this week, Wesley Owen Christian Bookshops pretty much gone, 26 into administration this week, then Waterstones admitting a major profit downturn, the furor earlier in the year with Oxfam killing off Secondhand bookshops - yes indeed one might think it really was the end of real bookshops!
But you know what, it's not - it's just a changing time and these all have to be gone through.
Now the big blame being placed out there is on Supermarkets and Internet Shops
(and yes it does make it harder when publishers etc do give them such massive discounts as to allow them to half price the books, this then makes the supermarket/internet price a better price than normal bookshops can actaully buy them from the publishers and wholesalers for in the first instance! madness but is this the supermarkets/internet shops fault or the publishers, there's something to think about!).
So anyway I can't actually do anything about this conundrum except raise the issue that when you buy from a non-local national or multi-national that less of your spend actaully goes back into your local community, so there we go issue raised.
Now though what I can do is try to make it easier for you to support a local bookshop business whilst going where you want to go anyway - ie onto the internet for what is admittedly a style of selling that is going nowhere fast!
So Here we go, please use these sites: for all books and more needs! This is an Amazon Ashop so you will be getting all you want from one of the big players that I often can't compete with, however by going to them this way you will be helping support me via their affiliate scheme.
Now lets be perfectly honest here - I would much prefer you actaully came in and purchased from me directly, but as your probably not going to in this instance, at least this way you are still helping support a local business for the times when you do come in to see what the book look like! :0)
Now if it's jigsaws and games you want then please use:
and if it's Christian & Religious Books then please use:
Now on the Christian Books side, if you want church supplies and stationary then that's not online but you can just email us your order at and we will get it for you and phone you for the payment details we need!

It really is just that easy, of course you can also twitter the order to us at anytime, we are @unicorntreebks or you can facebook us: Unicorn Tree Books Group or friend me

Now please do me a favour and post all these website details all over the place for me! link to them and try to help out your Local(ish) Bookshop business, cause you know we live to serve you!
So Go Local to Go Global, local communities supporting local businesses build a better world and support a healthy global economy and network – really!

Oh and if you are popping in in person then I wouldn't mind if you felt like sharing a caramel latte with me, you bring it i'll drink it - those cyber ones just don't seem to taste as good or quench the thirst nearly so well!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Craft Sessions Have Started! The White Table is in Action!

Now as some of you may remember back in september I posted about our new big white table (here's a reminder for you!):
'Thursday, September 24, 2009
A Round Up, Some Questions and a new white table!
So whats new in your friendly bookshop?
Well the newest edition, as of today, is a white table in the middle of the shop!
Now as you may know we don't have a seperate room where we can hold regular events like reading groups, book discussions or craft classes, though we really want to hold them!'

Well that Big White table has already seen one fantastic author event - that worked really well and had the shop buzzing and heaving at the seems at one point, I'm looking forward to doing more author events, so if you have any idea's then shout out!

But now that Big White Table in the middle of the shop has seen 2 craft sessions take place, with more booked and arranged.

The first one was a Thursday Morning lesson on embellishment idea's for cards and lasted for 2 hours, and yes it was great - the people attending the class loved the class (and have rebooked for this weeks thursday session too, so it must have been good!!) and the browsers seemed to have no problems looking at their books and occasionally glancing over at the table too with considering glances, so who knows maybe some new crafters are in the making!

The Second session was on Friday and that was a 1hour 15 minute beginners taster on quick christmas cards. Again it went well, we can tell by how much the participants purchased to take home and practice with :0)

So anyway if anyone else is interested you can come in or contact us to see what's on or arrange a one to one session!

We think that a one to one session might make a good christmas gift idea for the crafter who has everything else, so yes you can come in and buy a gift voucher for a session to give to someone else!

So there we go, that big white table is not just a blank space, but is now an active community space and I am loving that!
(though I do believe that despite the cards advertising my favourite coffee house - Angel Coffee - it has not yet seen enough cups of take out caramel latte grace its top, I am sure though in time that will be rectified as loyal minions gift me with coffee, time and their presence in the shop ;0)

So we still need to get a monthly reading group going round the table, but perhaps we should leave that for after Christmas!

Oh and hey what about a Lent Study Group round the table?
Anyone interested in that come Lent, We can do it at a Lunchtime slot and either share food at the table or offer up a Lent Fast and donate our lunch moneys to a charity of the groups choice! Think about it and tell others and get back to me with your thoughts!

Ok that's it from me for now, see you in the shop tomorrow (even though it is my day off!) and remember should you want coffee and a chat, well mines a caramel latte :0)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nursery Crimes, oops I mean Nursery Rhymes! Children In Need Appeal - Friday 20th November!

Pudsey Bear Day cometh!
aka Children In Need Appeal - Friday 20th November!

We are thinking Nursery Crimes, oops! I mean Nursery Rhymes as the days theme in the shop!
It's Literary and as were a book & craft shop it just makes sense! Fun and adventures will abound!
All the staff will be dressing up as Nursery Rhyme characters (guess who we are and make a donation if you are wrong & we'll make one if you are right!).
There will be make & take and craft lesson sessions for a donation to the pudsey appeal for children in need, and no I'm not thinking of Mrs Hubbards GrandKids or that Shoe Ladies kids, though you know their cupboards are bare and it's a tight squeeze for a family living in something the size of a shoe!!
Nursery Rhymes really tell some social stories and for a donation we'll even tell you some tall tales and stories too!
What do you think, sound like fun? well then spread the word around and don't forget to come on down on the 20th November.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Author Barrie Mahoney Reading & Signing His New Book 'Journeys and Jigsaws' Book 1 From Teacher to Drag Queen

It's our first LGBT Author event in shop and it would be great if some people showed up and I know you all know the people who know the people!

Event Details:
Author Barrie Mahoney Reading & Signing His New Book
'Journeys and Jigsaws' Book 1 From Teacher to Drag Queen

Venue: Unicorn Tree Books, 35- 40 Central Market, Sincil Street, Lincoln. LN5 7ET
Time & Date: Friday 30th October. 12noon - 2PM.

The novel is focused on a small primary school in a rural area and explores the issues faced by gay professionals in such rural communities and the prejudices and obstacles that they need to overcome to fulfill their jobs. The book deals with serious issues, but it is very amusing and readers have commented that they "laughed out loud" and the book is available from Gardners.

Barrie was born in Holbeach and later attended Spalding Grammar School. He later worked as a primary school inspector in England and Wales and inspected many schools in Lincolnshire.

Barrie was delighted to be interviewed about his book on the Judy Theobald morning show on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and is also pleased that the Lincolnshire Free Press is reviewing his book in an article in their next edition.

Unicorn Tree Books - Lincolns Niche Market Book Specialists & Lincoln's year round LGBT Book & Dvd Stockists are proud to host this event and hope this may be the first of more LGBT Author & Book events to come!

For more info Contact: Melanie Carroll. Email: Tel: 01522 525557

Ok guys I know this is not for all of you but it is a community event and it would be really really nice if we can be friendly and supportive and really try to make this a fun and full event, just like with the wonderful Sue Hampton Author Event.
and if any of you know of any authors or themes then come on and let us know.
Looking forward to seeing some of you on Friday and feel free to bring a caramel latte with you (for me!), especially as it'shalf term and none of the minions are on the job this week!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Round Up, Some Questions and a new white table!

So whats new in your friendly bookshop?

Well the newest edition, as of today, is a white table in the middle of the shop!
Now as you may know we don't have a seperate room where we can hold regular events like reading groups, book discussions or craft classes, though we really want to hold them!
So I am trying to get feedback here, would you consider doing these types of things in the open venue of the bookshop whilst the shop was open if the events were either free or really really cheap or coffee was provided? (Because as I'm sure you all know by now I will do much if a really good caramel latte is added into the equation - it is a payment and reward in itself!)

So anyway I think it would add an interesting vibe as other people browsed while you breathed the books as it were in terms of a book group - or created and learned a new craft, what do you all think please?

Talk like a Pirate Day and visiting Author Sue Hampton was well recieved - thanks to all the young-uns that walked the plank to see Sue! I had a great time!
We still have copies of Sue's book - 'The Lincoln Imp' in stock for those that couldn't make the day and we also have some of her other books in and they are very good too!

We would love to do some more author or themed events in store (Hence another reason for the big white table where once there were bookcases!) - so if you have any idea's then please let us know!

The Bishop of Lincoln, John Saxbee, has a new book out - 'No Faith in Religion' and it is now in stock and available, though it is selling pretty fast!
Please pass the info on and reserve or come in and buy your copies (and yes we do mail order too!), it is an excellent book and a wonderful symphony of blended idea's on the dichotomy of faith and religion!

We have Calenders, Diaries, along with Advent Candles and Christmas books, cards and items making an appearance now! Lots of Christmas Decoupage and Craft things too! and not forgetting Parsons Pocket Books & Lectionaries! Yes it's early but they are selling already.
Please think of us!

Oh and of course dont forget about our Church & Community Group Partnership Scheme! Tell others, join yourselves!
This is a real opportunity for working together to build community by supporting each other! More proof if needed that we are Working with you and for You!

The basic idea, as i've said somewhere her before, is that Churches and Community Groups (this also includes schools, clubs or any community, church or group based initiative) sign up with us as a Partner, once signed up you promote us to all your church/group members and then everytime they come into the shop and make a purchase, providing they let us know they are part of your partnership (we can provide cards for you to give them), you get a percentage of that sale held in credit for your church/community group!
We think this is worth it as we are helping you and we hope building community at the same time - and yes we do not deny we hope it helps us too by increasing the outreach of our shop too!

Ok and we would be really grateful if you could let your friends, collegues and networks know about us, both in person and through the Facebook groups/twitter/blogs! So next time you visit the fb group page, followfriday on Twitter, or even come into the shop then please 'invite people to join'!

So that's the news, info and questions from your friendly folk and slightly mad but highly amusing and mostly tame wonderful bookshopboss at Unicorn Tree!
Please do respond, tell others and feel free to pass on this message to any you think might be interested.

See you in the shop! and don't forget mine's a caramel latte and bring one for yourself as well :0)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ahoy and Avast me hearties were having some impish good fun on Saturday 19th September!

Just to let you all know that tomorrow (Saturday) we are having a fun filled day at the PirateShop Unicorn Tree Books and you and any children you may know are all invited to drift by, drop anchor and visit.

A wonderful children's author - Sue Hampton - will be joining us all day to sign copies, read and talk about her brilliant new children's book 'The Lincoln Imp'. A book about learning to deal with change with a very local character at it's centre!

However the fun doesn't stop there because with it being International Talk Like a Pirate Day we of the Pirateshop are going to have some impish fun and are going to be dressing up a little like pirates and having fun with all the rest of the landlubbers as we regale you with pirate talk (crib sheets available in shop for you scurvy lot who don't know the language).
So bring the sprogs down and don't be lily-livered about it, as you wont want to miss out on the booty we have commandeered for you! Eyepatches will be given out and there may well be stickered polly's and possibly paper planks to walk or other mayhem for the gentlefolk of fortune who visit!

We look forward to seeing you there and please pass this onto any facebook/twitter/blog friends or others you know in the area or who have children and might want some small burst of fun!


ps feel free to bring me a caramel latte to bribe and save any future keelhauling as may result from under caffeinated landlocked pirateshop captains!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Unicorn Tree Books Nominated Charity

First off we would like to say thank you to everyone that has contributed in the last year to our Nominated Charity - The Alder Hay Imagine Appeal. Together we have raised £367.

That's not bad going at all considering the economy, So thanks.

As you probably know we nominate a new charity each year on the anniversary fo the start of the business, and this year we have decided to go with Listening Books.

Listening Books is the only audiobook charity in the UK providing a streaming audiobook internet service, as well as a comprehensive postal service, to anyone who has a disability which makes it impossible or difficult to hold a book, turn its pages, or read in the usual way. Charity registration number. 264221

We figure this is a worthy cause as we love books and we want everyone to be able to enjoy them - this one is close to our hearts as well due to the fact that in our family we have people who suffer from both degenerative eye issues and physical issues that can contribute to causing our families favourite past-time to becoming something deeply missed. So we want to help make sure that everyone with similair issues gets to continue enjoyig the treasures that books are.
We hope this is a Charity that again you will all be able to get behind with us and that this year we can raise as much, if not more!, for this worthy charity too.
You can donate in shop giving your pennies as so many of you already do - or of course you can dontate directly through our JustGiving Page too. Thanks :0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Church & Community Group Partnership Scheme

We have now officially launched our Church & Community Group Partnership Scheme!
So if you have a church or group we would like to help you earn revenue by becoming an affiliate partner of Unicorn Tree Books & Crafts!
(That's right an affiliate scheme thats not cyber based but is in a real shop with real people!! though of course you can still twitter or facebook your orders and enquiries to us!)
This is a real opportunity for working together to build community by supporting each other! More proof if needed that we are Working with you and for You!

The basic idea is that Churches and Community Groups (this also includes schools, clubs or any community, church or group based initiative) sign up with us as a Partner, Once signed up you promote us to all your church/group members and then everytime they come into the shop and make a purchase, providing they let us know they are part of your partnership, you get a percentage of that sale held in credit for your church/community group!

That's right - they buy, you spend!
It cost's your collective members nothing extra,
it costs you nothing but a bit of time, word of mouth and/or print promoting the service and our shop to your collective members (and anyone else you know who may benefit from the Scheme please!),
in fact the only one it's costing is us as we give away a percentage of our income to you!
We think this is worth it as we are helping you and we hope building community at the same time - and yes we do not deny we hope it helps us too by increasing the outreach of our shop too!

We will be hoping to run special partnership events and offers as time progresses as well.

So whats the catch?
Your collective partnership have to buy up to £250 worth of goods in the course of the year, now even if your group only has 10 people in it (and remember you can get them to recruit their friends and family for your aims as well - it's a viral charity thing!!) then that's only a total spend for each of them of £25.00 in a year!
Given everything we sell - books, jigsaws, arts & craft supplies, gifts, music, cards, dvd's, stationary & lots more - thats not really going to be that hard is it!

So please do contact us to sign up & please do spread the word around about the Scheme - it's open to any Church and Community Group and also to pretty much any other group, club or network too!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Time Stops for No Man - But Clocks Do!

I'm in the Echo again doing the page 3 thing! who knew I was so photogenic!!
Anyway the clock in the market - rather like the economy - has slowed down to a virtual stop and so the nice people from the echo came back to report on it.
Actually I was on page 3 of the Lincoln Echo twice this week as I was also mentioned in a report about doing away with the penny! fame at last.
So here are the links for those that might be interested:
Markets Antique Clock Stops Working
Charities Threatened by Death of 1p

oh and the wonderful thing about the penny article - the next day a wonderful disabled gentleman came in with a pocketful of copper to dontate - now that is community mindedness and generous giving.

See it proves that together we can do more for more!
Remember here at Unicorn Tree Books as an independent shop we are Working with You and For You!
and with that in mind just to let you know out Church & Community Partnership Scheme is now officially up and running as from today! more on this exciting community initiative later!!

So anyway come by and see us - and feel free to bring an extra coffee with you, latte with a shot of caramel, for when we stand and chat!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Independents Week - it's about community!

This is based on the body of something I just posted on facebook and thought it deserved a bigger airing.
It comes from the fact in the US it is Independent Week, now here in the UK we have Indpendent's Book Week that is a great idea, over in the states they are doing this - but their indie week is actaully for all indies regardless of type of business and this rocks!!
(Some links to find out more!
The stats that are being released as to how buying from indies benefits the community they are based in do roughly hold true here too!
So it's defintely worth considering and remembering that indie store owners live and work in the community and therefore pay fully towards it and are totally invested in it - is this truly true of chain stores or internet shops? yes the staff are local but the profits and put back where do they end up??

This is the body of text taken from the fantastic - The US based fantastic Independent Bookshops Website - I totally would love something like this here in the UK!

Why shop Indie?

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:
The Economy

* Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
* Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
* More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.

The Environment

* Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
* Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community

* Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
* Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
* More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.

Now before anyone says it - I am not on about Independent's Week - I know we do that as booksellers and publishers anyway, and most other business sphere's have some sort of thing once a year as well.

What I am talking about is things like independent booksellers foundation and the real way the indies are working together for example via
We need to be doing this - regardless of the style, speciality or size of our indie stores, unite together but working indie style.
Bookshops aside indie shops of all sorts should be working together!
Supporting, networking, building our communities!
Yes the FSB does a good job (I am a member - but we need something more still - more focused on working together in the community and supporting each other.
Community centred but national and global in sharing idea's and working together independently for the good of communities everywhere!

Come on let's do it - and community come on share with us, support us, love us - we know we need you and we know we love you and will do that extra for you - you're our neighbours and friends!

ps - this year at Christmas we gave over £100 to Lindon Listening Ears - a lincoln based Free Bereavment Counselling Service - we like to give to local charities! and we give to national ones too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ohh! New Signs for the Aisle!

We have had some nice banner signage made that can be seen up and down the aisles in Central Market, and best of all can also be seen from outside when the doors are open - which they definitely were today as we sweltered and fought over every passing breeze!
Anyway I think they look pretty good really - what do you all think.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It's about time too! - In the Lincoln Echo again!

Ohh yes indeed - I, me the bookshop boss, Unicorn Tree Books and Lincoln Central Market are once again in the Lincoln Echo!

And best yet - another career moment has been achieved in the life CV - because oh yes and wait for it...I am now a page 3 girl!!

Yes indeed my picture graces page 3 of todays Lincoln Echo, along with an article on how time is no longer standing still in Lincoln Central Market but is merrily marching forward with the rest of us.

So anyway here for all to read is the article in question.

I would like to say thank you to the News Editor for responding to my notification on Saturday and sending down the nice reported - Michael Brown - who was a great guy, and sending the nice photographer -John Jenkins - who was also very nice and even managed, true to his word and skills, to make me not look too much like a rabid chipmunk on a seriosu caffeine high! Thanks guys.

Ok so there we go, a clock that works and let's me know when it really is caffeine time, generally about 8:45am - 4:00pm Monday - Saturday! so if your passing call in and remember I take mine with a shot of caramel syrup in it too!

See you in the shop tomorrow - or online, or on twitter and remember if you have to buy a book online do me a favour and use our affiliate shop to help support us at least a little - though we do take orders bytwitter @unicorntreebks now too!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Buy Local to Keep Local People In Jobs!

Buy local to keep local people in jobs
Lincolnshire Bites Back buy local campaign This is Lincolnshire.

This is an important idea and something I would like to remind people of, because buying local isn’t just about food, it’s about everything!

Yes that includes bookshops as well - sure it is probably easier late at night or sitting at the desk to buy from Amazon or one of the other names, ( and no I don’t blame you and I entirely understand where you are coming from!) but the truth is when you do that you do run the risk of loosing your local shop, and with it the employee’s of that shop loosing their jobs, and in the longer term the benefits to your community!

There are ways to support your local shop and work with them and still have the benefits of quick fix shopping or savings.

In our case you can use our Amazon Affiliates shop, thus benefitting ourselves and yourself. Don’t go straight to, instead bookmark us and go through our affiliate link!

Sure we would prefer you just used us directly, dropped us an email ( ) or twitter us, or even leave us an phone message (01522 525557) telling us the book you want and then we could get it for you and supply it, it’s entirely possibly we might even have it in already. If you can’t pick it up we can post it, but if you can pick it up it’s great! we can chat and you might even see some other things you want and we might even share our sweets with you!

Please think local first, - we want to serve you, we want to support you, we want to work with you - we really need you and we know it, and maybe one day you will really need us and then we truly will know we are part of the same community that works and lives together.

Ok so that’s the non-party political broadcast and begging session over! normal service will resume in the bookshop and I will be the one sucking down the caramel flavoured coffee whilst fighting new booking in systems! Say hello and save me! see you in the bookshop, on twitter, or any of the other methods we can be a community together!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Minion No.1 is a Twit!

Yes it is a true statement that Minion No.1 is indeed a twit.
How do I, the Unicorntreebooksboss, know this?? because the minion was twittering during working hours on my day off - I had a wonderful running commentary on how little work was being done as she twittered away - and then got cheeky with it when told, via twitter of course, to get back to work!!
Pay peanuts get monkeys maybe!
Actaully call them minions and get hell raisers seems somewhat appropriate too!

So anyway should you want to twitter with a minion (or 2 actaully as the other minion is also on twitter but she doesn't do it at work that I have noticed!) they are on twitter as:

@tazallie (actaully she does twitter post some info on books and book reviews occasionally!)


I have also set up a twibe and a twibe blog!

and of course I am there as well, @unicorntreebks
Note the name, if it is minion working hours then I really should be the only one officially on the system unless it's a break time - though who wants to take bets on the likelihood of that given the minions are revolting!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Article from the Lincoln Echo.

Thriving Markets and community spirit - plus the odd sweetheart that's what I reckon you get from this bookshopboss!
BTW i'm quoted in the article, the lady from the veggie stall in the picture is not me!

Feel free to pop in and chat and be assured of an individual welcome! Remember if your bringing the coffee mines with a shot of caramel syrup!
twitter me - @unicorntreebks

I'm in the Lincoln Echo! - Fame at Last!

So ok they got the name of the shop wrong - but heck it's still a score! Fame and reknown for me and the Markets. (and no despite what the minion says this does not constitute as infamy!).

Easter Over lets Confirm we are Here!

Well that's it, been for my Easter camping trip - got rained on, sun shone and then came home again!
So today we cleared off the Easter display and decided to confirm we are here and selling all sorts for everyone - yep that's right we put up a Confirmation and First Holy Communion display instead.
Frames, Cards, Dolls, Rosaries, Holding Crosses and even Scripture Verse Sweeties and lollipops!
It's scintillating and salivating in its awesome display of spring themes and colours.
White Doves fly around the place as Daffodils and wheatsheafs mix with the wine chalice for holy communion - this is of course to remind us of springtime picnics and folksy songs and enjoyable books like wind in the willows!
Honestly it's great and there really is a lot going on, including the stationary needed for the occasion - talking of that the new Church Registers from scm-canterbury are absolutely fantastic, really bright and chearful additions to brighten up humdrum things!
Ok moving on to things other than religious gifts and cards and staionery!
Puzzle books are in and there is an excellent range of handbag size now in ready for holiday season to begin!
Come by and get one soon oh and don't forget that I like my coffee with a shot of caramel!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Charity is what you make it - not always what you give!

So my coffee was almost spoiled, but I asked for a shot of caramel in it to take away the bitter taste of the twitter and things immediately felt better after that! (after all if life is about choices then choosing not to hold on to anger should probably count as a good choice! even with the extra calories attached!).

So I found out one (the main one! - you know the one with the systems issues, yes them - IdiotBuiltSystem-StuffedTheLeadtimes!) of the Christian book wholesalers over here are going to be chainging their name soon it would appear!
(Thanks to Fellow Twitter @notbovvered Fuller info can now be found on his excellent blog -
But also they are doing things like looking to lay off staff and then seemingly doing a recruitment drive and asking for volunteers, in what seems to me to be to in effect fill those paid staffers positions, and then claiming to be 100% Charity!

Well sorry to me that's playing a foul semantics card.
100% charity does not involve looking for ways to make your life/business better at the expense of people you are meant to have a duty to care for!!
Add to that given it is a commercial business (albeit a registered charity!) it's trickery to try to convince the customers that through supporting them 100% goes to charity - actaully it doesn't as most of it goes on admin, stock, overheads etc - very little of the customers spend makes it to the charity component - I should know I spent 14 years working for the same sort of retail/publishing/worldwide charity as these folks - and believe me the final sum going to the missions was less than 5% ! So again it's misleading and unfair to make these sorts of claims and do this sort of thing.

Heck my business isn't a charity - it provides for me, my family and staff with not much left over - and then most of that goes to the taxman as I render unto ceasar, but I give willingly to charity from that money because yes it is the right thing to do - and yes I have a nominated charity for my shop, and this year even though times are tough I am still giving - and last year I gave too, twice in fact! This is not to brag, but it's to point out that saying 100% charity is not saying anything if it isn't backed up by real action, (Mark 12:42) if you have thousands and give little, or have little and give as much as you can - well draw your own conclusions.

Again this issue is the unfairness and biasedness of the situation, the misuse of words and ethics to deliberately report something in a way not absolutely honestly truthful, but rather its propoganda marketing and spin if you ask me and if that makes sense! Seems to me some Christian Bookshop Chains & Charities seem to be loosing the concept somewhere, as this one seems to using the same secular and what to me seem to be somewhat ethically dubious activities such as we last saw demonstrated by SSG (SPCK/SSG as they were when they first tried the volunteer trick!). Shame that really.

So the question I ask all of you - and please do comment! - is:
Is it fair for charities running commercial & retail businesses to compete claiming 100% charity?

Oh and let me clearly state that in this I refer to businesses other than pure 'charity shops' that sell on only donated secondhand goods for the most part!
I mean businesses that really are full on retail and commercial businesses operating exactly the same as their secular counterparts - except of course for their registered charitable status.

ok, last thing, I am now truly a twit!
that is to say i am now on, so if any of you are also on there and want to chat/follow or be followed then you can find me at: @unicorntreebks

Anyway that's it for now - see you in the shop tomorrow and if you inhabit cybersphere only then don't forget you can shop through our A-shop and support us that way too - and feel free to donate to our nominated charity at any time!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What is Christian Ficton

Ok, here is a quick thought/question based on thoughts spawned by one of the social network groups i follow/participate in: Christian Authors & Readers Network

What actaully constitutes 'Christian' Fiction??
Is it fiction published by the main christian publishing houses? (cause if so...well!)
Is it fiction by any author who is a practicing/believing christian? (so Anne Rice anyone, Orson Scott Card, Tolkien, susan Howatch etc)(here's an interesting link for sci-fi authors on this one)
Is it fiction where any of the characters are christian and therefore the christian perspective is carried through (fannie Flag -can't wait to get to heaven, Andrew Greeley, Don Camillo books, Howatch etc)
Is it fiction where the idea's and concepts inherent to being a christian or christianity are expressed/embraced etc (Jodi Picoult Books, The Shack etc)

So there we go that's the question on my mind tonight - come on let me know your answers and thoughts on this one!

See you in the shop tomorrow & don't forget I can be found on twitter now too @unicorntreebks !

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Twitter time!

Yep, it's twitter time folks - as if me twittering here on the blog ws not enough - now I can twitter away 24/7 about anything and nothing - though only in 140 character space lines, so not too much at once.
Check me out and tell me your following, or let me know about yourself and we can twitter together!
twitter me timbers - it's me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Materialise It Mark is a Gem!

Being the sort of Bookshop Boss I am, I am a very hands on creative type (well that's what I tell myself!) and as did many people I once had delusions of Blue Peter and Magpie style Grandeur - that is to say I believe I can build anything out of cardboard rolls, double sided sticky tape, and cable ties - and to demonstrate this fact on Monday I duly did do some cardboard technology work using a cut off end of a spare cannibalised card unit to make some units for the counter.
Now I admit that by the end of the day though they had things in them they were still a work in progress and were waiting to be covered with coloured paper, spud prints or sticky back plastic to make them look somewhat better - but hey that was the next days adventure and I was justifiably pleased with them as they had doubled the stock I could put on the tops and the darn Bingo Dabbers and Bingo Markers were no longer falling over anytime someone even looked at the counter! Oh and the packs of playing cards and the Biro's and Pencils were also once again visible to the human eye of someone taller than the average 3 year old.

Good stuff I thought and pleased I was (probably because no minions were on site to scoff at the impressive feat of design genius!), and then along came my friend Mark H from off the Materialise It stall further up the aisle - now for any that haven't been to visit in person Materialise It is an absolutely must see stall, especially for all those Sci-Fi fiends like me! Marks stall sells Sci-Fi collectibles, models and toys. Yep Millennium Falcons abound, Yoda and wookies astound, Daleks and Doctors aplenty, Battlestar Gallactica surrounds and Marvel Characters stand out! yep you name it and it's probably there, and along with these are cool posters, signed Photo's and lots extra as well - oh and its also the place to get a Chess set as well.
So anyway Mark comes in to say good night sort of thing and looks at the fantastic cardboard creations and gets this look on his face like he just smelled curdled milk! and with that points out all the lovely backing left over from the new bookcases and says you can do something with that to make units, to which I start thinking veneer, the curdled milk look at this point is more a sneer!
See Mark is pretty good at turning out incredibly complex dovetailed drawers and pine shelving units from scratch - me? not so much!.

So anyway the next day Mark comes in and gets some of my nice shelf backings and about 40 minutes later brings down this work of art!

Now isn't it just fantastic - safe to say that though i had been proud of mine upon seeing this little gem I became shamed and immediately consigned it to the rubbish bin, but even better was that today he made me the opposite sides unit as well - purpose built for the items I needed displaying!

The man is a genius and an artisan and not just a cool sci-fi dood - my shop may replicate the TARDIS in being able to stretch the dimensions and fit in more than it should, but Mark is definitely a strong contender for talented Dr's Companion, definitely an Adric in the making (though hopefully without heroic but sad ending at the hands of a cyberman).

So Mark, thank you! and all of you out there go visit him next time you're in - honestly he has some of the coolest things in the Market - after our own stuff of course!, including two daleks on top of his stall and looking straight down the aisle to the main doors by us.

OK gushing over for now - minions are on half term so I am having to do all the work again!

So anyway just to remind everyone Lent and Easter are nearly here so please get the orders in for Palm Crosses and Paschal Candles - they are all in, but we have already gone through 30 bunches of Palm Crosses, one box of Paschal Candles - and I don't want it to be like Advent when two days before the start, and one day after the sets are gone, lots of people start showing up looking and getting upset.

As a small Independent business I can only get in what I am pretty sure will sell, so if you let me know you want it I can ensure it will be here, but if not then you do risk it not being in stock at the last knockings.

Oh Easter Cards and Mothering Sunday Cards are also in stock - as are the Church Group bundles and Packs of Crosses and bookmarks etc.

Today I sent off a CBC order for gifts, rosaries and other Communion and Confirmation items, these should be in early next week.

On other fronts Sherrilyn Kenyon's 'Dream Hunter' has been in and sold out, and is expected back in later this week, as is 'At Grave's End' by Frost.
Westerns seem to be doing well at the minute, Louis L'Amour, William Johnstone and lots of other Key Western Authors are in stock and selling well.

Oh and the sale is ongoing with orange cross 50p books still available and new books at £1.25 or 5 for £5 still available - come by and see, and remember if you cant come in person then please use our Amazon affiliate sites to buy your stuff! Our Christian Book Ashop
Our everything Ashop.
Please support us however you can and we would love it if you would link to our Ashops or help promote them, or any of our sites or activites if you can, and remember come by and visit and don't forget the bookshopboss likes coffee with caramel shots!
see you in shop in the morning!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The New Look Unicorn Tree Books & Al's Arts

These pictures are in no particular order - sorry I will probably try to re-arrange them at a later date to give you a walk through but for now they are like the tidying of the shop... a work in progress!

You are lucky to have them as what with snow and antibiotics and extracted teeth and exposed jawbone it was all I could do to show up let alone anything else this week! See what a devoted bookshopboss I really am!

The Main Entrance to Unicorn Tree Books, including Unicorn Tree Christian Books & Church Supplies & Al's Arts & Crafts.

The Main Entrance inside looking straight on and through!

A close up of what you see when you look up after entering the main entrance - some very nice and unusual jigsaws! and all at such good prices as well!

The Main Aisle as you come in through the Sincil Street Doors - ie what you see when you first walk in!! A spinner of Small Art activities, A stand of DVD & CD's and then 5 bays of books - an entrance- and then another 4 bays of books ( but you cant see them in this picture!)

The Main doorway in from Sincil Street looking from our main entrance into Unicorn Tree Books - We really are not hard to find once one comes into the Market itself.

The Children's Activity Books form an integral part of the entrance and advertise both the Christian and General Nature of the Shop to everyone in a friendly way!

Just as you get through the door we are utilising all the available space and have used the back of the card/book display unit to make a Prayer Card/Bookmark/Postcard/Card display area. (watching blue peter really has paid off in the long run!). The Cash desk is just opposite it and this unit can be seen from the other Shop entrance as well.

And just inside the stall we advertise the nature of one of the sections we have worked so hard on and battled so hard for! Look how good we are we still use the required wording but we have centred the main use - yes we are indeed proud of being a Christian bookshop as well as a general bookshop, and yes we are happy to sell religious books across a breadth of studies and theologies, that's because we are ecumenically and community minded!

Just inside the door and turning Left - reached by going past the till point and Childrens Section... Our nice display of Seasonal Cards, Bookmarks, postcards and a few prayer cards...

and then of course is the new Christian Books & Church Supplies Department. (this pic was taken from further back standing just at the start of the General Department in the ladies fiction and Saga section.

The new till point/Cash Desk area- yes we actaully now have a desk to stand and serve behind and it makes a good display point for seasonal items, stationery and Audio Books!

Looking out from behind the till point, actaully more by the computer side than the till side, you look down past the sticker stand, into Non-fiction, MBS, Biography and 'white books', War & Historical fact and fiction, Westerns, Sci-fi, Horror, LGBT and at the far end Crime & Thrillers.

Oh and the round mirror is so we can see into Als Arts from the behind the till point!

The side entrance to Unicorn Tree books is past Paranormal Romance Fiction & puzzle books, you then look in and see Als Arts Beads, glues etc as they lead into the new cut through section to Als Arts. You are also looking at the reserve bookcase section of the till point the entrance to which is guarded by a doorway made of Bin Number stickers amongst other things - as these deplete they will be replaced by the christian posters we are hoping to order soon, with their doorway flick flack stand!.

The General Section of the bookshop - just as you come in the main entrance. Basically Ladies & Saga, looking down to Crime and Thrillers, with a smattering of Jigsaws above! And if you look Left coming in through the Main Entrance you will now see the start of our new and improved and expanded Christian Books & Church Supplies section - with its new lead through into Al's Arts & Crafts via the Childrens section!

and this is what you see around the corner and looking into Als Arts from the Christian Books and Childrens section walk through! ( and somedays you will see bookshopboss's motherminion sitting there making cards as that's where her table and chair are - she is Mrs Al by the way - it was her stall before it was my department!)

Al's Arts from outside looking through the new entrance point made to give Als Arts more space! See the nice Slat Board that they gained from as well! Its the reverse side to the Display Slats in the Christian Gifts Section! Nothing wasted and all space utilised!

The new wall for Als Arts was made from left over unit sides from the Religious section - again nothing wasted just judiciously reused and re-homed. It looks very good and much neater than it used to - a colourful display of craft and scrapbooker stickers and embellishements!

Looking at the Side entrance view of the shop and Als Arts from the far aisle.

Back to the Crafts Looking down from the main bookshop to the far corner of the Als Arts. Lots of fun Glitters, papers, punches and pencils!

Then standing in the corner we just looked at and looking up and out we have lots of papers, cards, scissors, glues, paint brushes, tools and other such things!

Looking at Crafts from over by what used to be the religious bookstall - remember when it was it's own seperate unit we were not allowed to call it a Christian Bookshop - Council and Diversity rules! of course now its not seperate but joined into the main there isn't really a reason to stop it being known as the Christian Books and Church Supplies department! Just as Als Arts is now often referred to as the Crafts Department!

Looks nice though - lots of decoupage, cards, inks, embellishements and books on all sorts of Arts and Crafts - in fact the range of Art and Watercolour technique books is pretty good and worth a look, let alone the actaul crafts and beading books!

Als Arts as seen standing in the walk through from the main bookshop! Lots of lovely stamps, art sets, paints and other things.

Looking from the Side entrance down the aisle of Unicorn Tree Books - the keen eyed will notice there were very few changes to this section at all!

The walk through from Als Arts into the Main Bookshop and Till Point area, and the side entrance through into Childrens and Christian Books.

Looking through from Als Arts into the Childrens section and the Beginnings of the Christian Books section.

Down the end of the Christian section is the Church Supplies Corner! - Communion Wafers, Incense, Lectionaries etc.

Candles - Altar, Sanctuary, Baptismal, Votive and Decorative Clerical Shirts, Bibles, some Childrens toys, jigsaws and lots more! We are not wasting space here!

A better view of the Church Supplies and Candles section - we are calling it utilitarian working chic for now! We are also calling it slightly empty as we didn't want to do a top up order till the shifting was done!

On one of the Central Gondola's in Christian Books you will find Christian Greeting Cards for all occassions!

And on the wall seperating Christian from Crafts you will find a combination bookcase and slatboard display being used to show a selection of Christian themed Gifts, bible cases, jewellery and more!

The Gift section is right next to the Bibles - so we can put the Bible cases right next to the Bibles! along with the Communion & confirmation gifts, religious Jigsaws, frames and Baptism Gifts.

So There we go theres a whistle stop look at the physical changes we have wrought on the shop/stall in the last 3 weeks - though it still ahs some tidying to be done and a little tweaking we think and hope it works really well. It seems more spacious that it did and we have certainly expanded the religious section significantly and will continue to do so - what you didnt see in any pictures is the three bays outside just past the childrens activity section and spinner - this at the minute is sale stock of oks stuff and overstocks we found lurking when we rejigged the stall - however once these are gone then at least 2 of those bays are likely to be given over to Christian Books and goods! So more to come - and the beauty of this is that that is the main aisle - one of the most traversed thoroughfares in the market - what a witness hey!

Well ok it is really really late - the only reason you got all this is because my tooth (or lack thereof! therefore wound!) is aching and I can't sleep anyway! but as its Saturday tomorrow and I have to get the bus to work in the icy cold I am now saying come by and see it in person! and don't forget the caramel latte when you do!

See you in the Bookshop tomorrow guys - or of course you can always buy from our affiliate site - and we will count that as a visit!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nearly there!

Nearly there with the big move!
All the fixtures are shifted, religious is now fully housed in the main bookshop now.
Mostly everything is put back together and where it should be, and today the new till arrived and was set up - the new printer/fax/phone unit should hopefully arrive sometime this week too and then we are pretty much fully up and running in our new style shop.
At the moment other than continuing to tidy up and remerch sections as we go we are currently working on redoing Als Arts & Crafts section. It has benefitted from new Slat board and a new outer wall!
Honestly we really do think the stall is some sort of relation to the tardis! as we have moved everything into the main bookstall and increased the space to expand religious/christian books and no we don't know how that happened - well we do but what we cant work out is the physics of it!
So give me to the end of the week and hopefully there will be new pictures up of the new look bookshop!
Honestly it is great - tiring but so good to see it happening and being done with it.
It's all coming together and I give thanks to God for the ability to see it and do it along with the minions.
Minion no. 1 really does deserve the starbucks she has been getting, come to that so do I - lol.
So anyway just to let peeps know - the Easter cards are in (with more to follow!) and there is a great new range of fantastic looking and incredibly cheaply priced bookmarks in from Kevin Mayhew - our favourite: Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those doing it!
Large Ingrams delivery also came in today - so all you sci-fi & paranormal readers have a bumper crop of new releases from the stateside to enjoy!
Anyway sure there is a lot more to say, but as it's another early day start to enable more tidying up and finishing to be done I am signing off with a see you tommorow in the shop.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We are rejigging!

Yep yep - the pictures you see below this post are not now how we look in some part and by the end of the month will not be how we look at all!
yes indeed it's true we are having a major overhaul and face lift - and yes no more would be comics out there with the 'well boss you need' it comments!
So anyway as you can well imagine the place is a bit of a mess as we move all the old stuff out and the new stuff in, rearrange units and change till points and displays, but by the end of the month it will be fantastic!
So far we have relocated all the New Fiction onto nice new units, and a tidy amount of the Secondhand fiction has also been rehomed as well.
We have the sale to end all sales going on at the minute as we have seriously culled both the secondhand fiction and the New Fiction and pulled out anything over 18 months old - these are now for sale at 10 secondhand for £5.00 or 5 New for £5.00.
Whicever way you look at it that's some fantastic bargains going on there. The authors include Dan Brown, Arthur C Clarke, Audrey Howard and other top authors. Honest this is not dross just overstock we needed to shift to make room for the new units and stock!
So anyway Religious books are moving from their 'stand alone and cannot be grown' section in unit 3 over to the main bookstall - this way there is room for expansion - in fact there will be an extra 5 bays worth of space to expand into and some nice gift units and slat wall space as well - This will also put the Christian Books in a much more prominent thoroughfare than they are currently on - and the reason for this??
Because we are not ashamed!
In fact we are not ashamed of anything we do, including our LGBT section which has also been relocated in the move and this is now in a more prominent section as well - situated in the middle gondola of the main Fiction section rather than hidden in the corner!
we are not ashamed and we will not act as if we are - we will not apologise for our beliefs, for our friends or for our outreach!
That said we would like to announce that we are now also stocking Jewish Prayer Books and the Forms of Prayer, and we welcome all our friends from the Lincoln Branch of the Council of Christians and Jews to come by, it was good to meet you and be involved in a very small way with the 'meditation of Advent and Chanukah'. Thank you.
Ok now also whilst I have your attention, Palm Crosses, Paschal Candles and the rest of the Lent/Easter paraphanalia are on order and in some cases even in stock! so NOW IS THE TIME to let me know exactly how many of what you want putting by!!
Pass the word around please - Lent Books are in and orders are being taken for Palms and Candles.
Thank you!
Ohh we counted how many jigsaw designs we had when we had to move them all for the new units! (These went fantastically well at Christmas and are still going well now, probably as we are one of the few places in Lincoln that does them, and we do them all year round and at very good prices as well!)
Anyway that would be just over the 100 mark! These span the gamault from 1500 piece puzzles down to the 8 piece childrens puzzles, with the most number being in the 500 piece range and then followed by the economy priced 1000 piece puzzles, though my favourites are the ones with the Gold and Silver highlighting - particularly the Indian Maid and Fawn one - just lovely! and then also the Shaped Fish & Dolphin Puzzle. Lots of different brands as well, Gibson Games, Jumbo, King, Paul Lamond Puzzles, Falcon, Heye, Classic Deluxe, Ravensburger and a few more as well!
Then there were the Paint By Numbers, both large, standard and small, and 2 different manufacturers styles in those as well. It certainly makes for colourful on top of the new units.
So anyway when the refit and rejig is done and about ten minutes after I stop doing my own victory jig all over the worklorn minions (who actaully have been working! and I have to admit may have some hidden architectural or interior design skills that have a lot to do with making best use of the tardis like propensity of the strange space in a Unicorn Tree domain! Thanks M1 & M2) then I will get out my camera and take new snappy snappies for you all who cannot come in and see it for yourselves.
See you in the shop soon - I am the one with 2 coffee's on the go at the minute as one just doesn't do it in a refit situation.