For 21 years I worked in bookselling – firstly in Science books, then in Computer books, before taking over the running of computer systems for the company I worked for. They were James Thin, a 150 year-old fifth generation family firm who were known worldwide as a source of academic and Scottish books. Back then it was one of the largest stockholding bookshops in Europe and it expanded to have at one point over 30 branches. It had contacts with a number of loyal local authors and one of those was Dorothy Dunnett. Thins had a mailing list of readers, mostly overseas, who always wanted her latest books as soon as they appeared.
When I branched out into setting up email and then a website I made contact with some of these readers who had formed an internet email discussion group and were delighted that there could be a web page devoted to her on our new site.
It was to prove a life changing meeting! I was lucky enough to make friends with Dorothy and work with her in developing the website and help to communicate with her large and enthusiastic readership by sending out newsletters. The site blossomed but Thins started to get into financial difficulties. Then suddenly, just two months after Dorothy’s untimely illness and death, the company’s banking was withdrawn and the administrators were called in. Many of us lost our jobs and the website was closed. Unwilling to see the Dunnett pages lost I rewrote and redesigned them into something like the site you see today and hosted them on my own webspace.
After a couple of years of struggling to find consistent work I found I could no longer keep writing the newsletters that I’d continued to send. That state of play continued until I decided to add this blog.