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Analogue Books in Edinburgh celebrates 10 Years as an Independent Bookshop

The wonderful Julie Nicoll and Russell Ferguson of Analogue Books have been stocking my various publications for 8 years, and in 2011 they celebrate their 10th birthday. Here's a bit of history mixed with some top tips for imaginative gift ideas for Christmas.

Written by Amelia Gregory

analogue books interior
One of my favourite stockists, Analogue Books of Edinburgh, celebrates their 10th birthday this year. I spoke with co-founder and owner, the lovely Julie Nicoll.

analogue books shelves
For those readers who don’t know much about Analogue, how would you describe your business?
We’re an independent bookshop in Edinburgh, specialising in art and design books and magazines. Over the years we have held almost 40 exhibitions, published a range of zines and books as well as hosting a few intimate gigs and talks. But mostly we just like sourcing interesting books and publications and chatting to the good folks who come in.
Analogue books zine rack
It’s been ten years! What have been the most fondly remembered highlights of the journey so far?
Ah, so many! Right back at the start, picking up the keys to the shop was so exciting – terrifying but just so exciting. At the risk of sounding soppy, meeting so many customers that have become good friends is lovely. Likewise, for nearly all our exhibitions the artist or artists spent a few days or more with us which was always really enjoyable, so far we’ve met some great people and made some good pals. Good times.
analogue books interior
Have there been any memorable disasters involved in running your own business? 
Ah, so many again! Being rejected for a bank loan the day after we signed the lease was worrying, to say the least. A few years back, our electrician managed to drill a hole in our mains water pipe causing a pretty high powered jet of water to pour out into the shop – as you can imagine, water and paper goods should not mix. The police showing up at openings isn’t always the most desirable thing either but there was never any real trouble. There were also a few naive, expensive mistakes early on regarding online orders from Indonesia that were made using stolen credit cards.

Nigel Peake in the wilds
What are the most popular books in your stock right now? Any trends you’ve noticed?
We’ve always sold a lot of Nigel Peake‘s books and zines – partly because we published some of them but also because his work is so beautiful and seems to attract such a diverse audience. We also sell a lot of Nobrow‘s titles, they’re so perfectly produced and have such a strong line-up of artists. There’s a host of great cycling-related books and magazines available now, like The Ride Journal and Boneshaker, that do really well. Field Notes notepads always do well too, they’re so simple and practical.

analogue books zines
the travel almanac analogue books
In terms of trends, I’d say that although we’ve stocked zines right from the start, over the last year or two there’s definitely been an increase in interest in them, both in terms of the amount we sell and with people asking for advice about how to make them. It’s also been nice to see the healthy number of magazines and periodicals like The Travel Almanac that have been appearing in the last year or two, going against the assumption that print is dead. These are interesting times in terms of publishing, with people increasingly expecting content for free, but there will always be a hardcore who love to hold a magazine, book or journal in their hands and smell the ink.
So, which books would you recommend for Christmas?

the Human Empire
For an arty boyfriend?
It’s not a book but we have a pretty impressive calendar by The Human Empire, a great shop and design studio in Hamburg – the 2012 Nature calendar is huge and has 12 images by 12 excellent international artists: Bjørn Rune Lie (NO) Vincent Mathy (BE), Mike Perry (U.S.) Anton Weflö (SWE) Marcus Oakley (UK) Human Empire ( DE) Adrian Johnson (UK) Merijn Hos (NL) Sergio Membrillas (ES) Karin Rönmark (SWE) Nan Na Hvass / Sofie Hannibal (DK) Adam Highton / Yule Bringer (UK). I love it.

Conversations on the coast
A crafty girlfriend?
Conversations on the Coast is a lovely little book by graphic designer and photographer Nick Hand. He cycled around the coast of Britain and documented the inspirational makers and craftsmen/women of all sorts, from a weaver, boat builder, screen printer, cheese maker, tea taster, letterpress printer, spinner, a glass maker, and lots more, whom he met on the way. The project was called the Slowcoast and you can see some of the films he made about this online, but it’s lovely to see it in book format.
diy furniture
A DIY tastic mum?
DIY Furniture is a great book featuring designs by leading designer-makers from around the world. It shows you how to use simple techniques to make furniture, seating and storage, your own bed, wardrobe, lighting and garden furniture, all from scratch. All using materials that can be found at your local hardware shop, it’s so inspirational.

fire and knives
And a dad who likes to cook?
Fire and Knives is an excellent quarterly for food lovers, featuring personal stories, short essays, interviews, reviews, great illustrations and it’s all art directed by the very excellent Rob Lowe. It’s a beautiful thing.

Analogue Books chocolate
Finally, what will you be doing for your 10th birthday celebrations?
We’ve collaborated with a fantastic chocolatier in Edinburgh called Coco, to make some big bars of chocolate for a Willy Wonka style golden ticket give-away, where the winners get vouchers to spend in our shop. The chocolate tastes amazing and the wrappers were designed by Eleni Kalorkoti so they look good too. For those who are not able to make it into the shop we’ll be offering 10% discounts on line too, just join us on Facebook, Twitter @analoguebooks or sign up to our mailing through our Analogue Books website to keep up to date with us. And there might also be some sort of party if we can stay up late enough…

Amelias anthology-compendium analogue
You can of course also buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration and Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration instore at Analogue Books, just as you could buy Amelia’s Magazine in print before them… surely the perfect excuse to make a trip down to their gorgeous shop sometime soon.


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