Alice Ashton Media
The Team has created 4 entries

The Team

  • World Book Night

    We normally sleep at night but might give it a miss next Tuesday. Did you know it’s going to be World Book Night? No, we didn’t either.

    Anyway, for those night owls out there World Book Night is a national (UK) celebration of reading and books and will be celebrated this year on Tuesday, 23rd April. Its aim is to bring people from all backgrounds together for one reason – to inspire others to read more. Organisations and individuals hold events up and down the country to celebrate the difference that reading makes to our lives, and everyone from publishers to librarians, and local businesses to the general public can get involved with events from book themed parties at home to books swaps in offices.

    Books are given out across the UK with a focus on reaching those who don’t regularly read, and are gifted through organisations including prisons, libraries, colleges, hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters, as well as by passionate individuals who give out their own books within their communities. Find out more about applying to hand out books in your organisation.

    World Book Night was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011 on 5 March. In 2012 it was moved to 23 April, the UNESCO International Day of the Book and, probably, the birth and death date of William Shakespeare. World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading.

    And in case you’re wondering – World Book Day is celebrated on March 7th.

  • Dream Job on a Desert Island

    Did you know that, last year, the luxury five-star Soneva Fushi eco resort in the Maldives were looking to hire someone to help run an on-premises bookshop for its guests?

    No? Well, basically, it was a three-month stint with possibly a longer séjour at running their bookshop on a remote island in the Maldives. It seems that whoever landed the job would be tasked with helping A-list wealthy guests to find the perfect book(s) to read while on holiday. They’d also be responsible for writing “an entertaining and lively blog that captures the exhausting life of a desert island bookseller” and be able to entertain children with storytelling and host creative writing courses. You can read more about this incredible position in The Guardian online paper and on Thrillist.com.

    The hunt for the right person was led by Philip Blackwell of the Blackwell’s chain of academic bookshops in the United Kingdom (you can read more here). In the years since his family sold the business, he’s started Ultimate Library, and teamed up with dozens of luxury resorts and cruise ships to help them curate special and extensive library collections for guests (sounds awesome and a clever niche idea).

    Anyway, the point of this blog is that we thought this incredible opportunity might be open again this year. We’d take it at the drop of a hat but commitments here don’t really make that possible so we thought, if there’s a tropical beach-loving bookworm out there wanting to escape the drudgery of normal life – why not try your luck and send an email to pb@ultimatelibrary.co.uk. As the saying goes – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  • France’s Book Towns

    You’ve probably heard of Hay-on-Wye in Wales and Jinbōchō in central Tokyo, and maybe Óbidos in Portugal (now considered to host one of the biggest book festivals in Europe) but did you know France has a book town too. In fact, there are eight of them:

    • Bécherel, Brittany
    • Montolieu, Languedoc-Roussillon
    • Fontenoy-la-Joûte, Alsace-Lorraine
    • Cuisery, Burgundy
    • La Charité-sur-Loire, Burgundy
    • Montmorillon, Aquitaine
    • Ambierle, Loire
    • Esauelbecq, Nord-de-Callais

    I have often wondered why there isn’t a book town on the French Riviera. I think Tourrettes-sur-Loup,  Valbonne or even Bar-sur-Loup would be brilliant especially as they are still home to artists, artisans, writers, restaurateurs, and gallery owners.

    If you’re travelling around France this summer and sort of a ‘bookish’ person you may like to drive over to one of these eight towns:

    Bécherel
    Bécherel’s population of 800 enjoys excellent restaurants, cultural events, art galleries, and tourism thanks to numerous literary festivals, bookish exhibits at the Maison du Livre, and as many as 15 bookshops. The idea of turning Bécherel into a book town was raised by Bernard Le Nail, the director of the Cultural Institute of Brittany. The first book festival took place in 1989 and became an annual event organized in spring around Easter. It’s being complemented by other book events, including book markets (first Sunday of every month), and a reading festival (October).

    Montolieu
    Established in 1989, Montolieu is possibly France’s most successful and picturesque book town. It’s the vision one man – Michel Braibant – who wanted to celebrate not only books, but their production and broader role in arts and culture. The town is famous not just for its dozen or so bookshops, but for its artists and galleries, plus a world-class fine arts collection that attracts visitors from all over the globe. If you do visit, make sure to pop into the Musée des Arts et Métiers du Livre, where you can walk through exhibits on the history of writing and publishing, or view a demonstration in paper making, printing, and more bookish arts.

    Fontenoy-la-Joûte
    Established in 1993 and named one of the best book towns in the world by The Guardian. Fontenoy-la-Joûte is a very small village of around 300 that swells to more than 100,000 visitors a year through its book fairs alone. While that number has declined somewhat, the town is still home to literary-themed restaurants and shops, a calligrapher, and 10 bookshops. It also hosts a yearly writing contest, art fairs and has a signpost pointing the way toward other book towns around the world.

    Cuisery
    Established in 1999 and most famous for its city gate made out of giant books. There are 20 bookshops and book-related shops, some with a very specific focus (polar history at Vae Victus, speleology at La Découverte, and social movements at La Chats Noirs, to name a few). Most of the bookshops can be found along Grand Rue, Cuisery’s main street. There are also Gutenberg Press printing demonstrations, monthly book fairs, and an annual short story competition sponsored by Cuisery’s Bookseller Association.

    La Charité-sur-Loire
    Established 2000. Although slightly on the wane it’s still well worth visiting for the lovely 11th-century priory and the Festival du Mot, which takes place every May. There’s also a literary walking trail/scavenger hunt with famous literary quotations hidden amongst the city’s landmarks.

    Montmorillon
    Established in 2000 with a little over 6,000 residents, Montmorillon is France’s largest book town – or, as the locals call it, a cité de l’ecrit. With 24 bookstores, their yearly Salon du Livre attracting more than a hundred writers, a bookstore bar called De la Trappe aux Livres, a typewriter museum, and bookish art schools (calligraphy, document restoration, etc.), there’s much to see and discover.

    Ambierle
    Established in 2010, this charming medieval village of less than 2,000 inhabitants has three bookshops open year-round, weekly book fairs, and four larger book festivals focusing on poetry, an Easter book hunt, “International Book of Travelers Day” and graphic novels. Ambierle is also actively recruiting writers and booksellers to move to the community and hosts workshops like book binding and other similar courses.

    Esquelbecq
    Established in 2010 and the northernmost book town in France, Esquelbecq is a castle town surrounded by oak forests. Currently home to four booksellers and five artisans, plus a literary festival called Nuit des Livres.

  • Hitching a Ride on YouTube

    As the most popular online video platform in the world, it would be silly not to hitch a ride on YouTube to promote your business.

    Their stats are impressive:

    • Over 1.5 billion worldwide users
    • One billion hours of content watched daily
    • Localised in 91 countries and accessed in 80 different languages
    • More than 100 hours of video uploaded every minute

    So how do I get found amongst all these videos we hear you ask. Well, it’s not as difficult as you’d think. Once you’ve created your own YouTube Channel you would then make sure that:

    • Title: Your title is described clearly. Think of words that would pull people in.
    • Description: Keep it short. YouTube only display the first two to three lines. Put a link to your website in the first line. That way it will show up in a search engine results page’s truncated descriptions.
    • Tags: Don’t go overboard. Choose the three most clickable topics of your video, and make them your tags.
    • Annotations: Use them wisely as they can be annoying little things. Having an annotation at the end saying “Click on the subscribe button” will remind people to subscribe to your channel.

    YouTube say that 64% of people watch a 30-minute infomercial to the end while only 20% of people finish reading an article. So we’re sort of hoping you made it all the way down here!