A Royal Warrant is regarded
as a ‘Peerage for Trade’ in recognition of quality service and excellence to
the royal household. It came about after 20 years providing books to the royal
libraries. Only two other booksellers from the entire publishing industry hold
a Warrant - Hatchards of Piccadilly and
Heywood’s Antiquarian of Mayfair.
The Royal Warrant of Appointment signifies a satisfactory trading
arrangement exists between the Grantor and the Grantee of a particular
company. This special arrangement between the Monarchy and trade has
existed since the Middle Ages, but it was on 25 May 1840 that the
present association was created with the formation of the Royal
Tradesmen’s Association. In 1907 the Association was incorporated by
Royal Charter and changed its name to the Royal Warrant Holders
Association. The original Charter was replaced by a Supplemental Charter
See Bibliophile's Press coverage in Raconteur in the Times - Turn to page 6 to read a little of how special it is to receive a Royal Warrant and the history of the award.
Coronation Festival will take place over four
days next July in the beautiful grounds of
As a Royal Warrant
holder, Bibliophile will have a unique
opportunity to display our fantastic range of
bargain books and show the high standards of
our special bookselling company. It will be
our very first time at a public
exhibition! We will be rubbing
shoulders and boosting our reputation
alongside 200 Royal Warrant Holders from
cartwheel and cheese makers to welly and fence
perfumiers and corporations like House of Fraser
in our marquee.
- We are predominantly a mail order catalogue, internet & postal business, however
customers are welcome (no appointment necessary) to visit the warehouse
either to collect orders or to browse the vast stock which covers all
subject areas. NB. It is a working warehouse organised by Location not topic. There is a comfortable, bright
browsing area, disabled toilet, and parking and refreshments are free.
- Bibliophile's big book bargains warehouse is well served on the 323
bus route from Mile End, the DLR and Jubilee line at Canning Town and
just off the A13 if you wish to visit. The new Star Lane station (two
stops from the Olympic Zone) is just 5 mins walk away.
Our office is staffed 8.30-5pm weekdays
and you can call 020 74 74 24 74 or
Fax 0207 474 8589.
If you wish to get in touch outside office hours then you can you leave a message on our friendly answerphone.
You can also email us at email@example.com
or place an order on firstname.lastname@example.org
- All books are in MINT condition, unless otherwise described.
- Free membership to the mail order catalogue, customer letters printed, cartoons donated, quizzes, free Noticeboard for your book sales etc., free prize crossword.
- Bibliophile is the very first booksellers to review books on YouTube that they actually have for sale. See our Editor.
The History of Bibliophile Books
Over 30 years of selling bargain books...
The Wharf : "It all started in 1978 when Bill Smith met Australian journalist Max
Harris and formed a book club with no membership fees but with
newsletters sent out 10 times a year.
Owner Annie Quigley says: "It just started with two elderly gentlemen with an
eclectic mix of books. It was very profitable for them but sadly Max
Annie joined the company in 1985, becoming editor of the newsletter
in 1988 and when Bill Smith developed cancer he made plans for her to
buy the company from his widow.
In 1992, when Annie took over the company, it was based in Thomas
Road, Poplar but when the property was sold to developers and
Bibliophile was given a few months' notice it was a blessing in
"We were bursting out at that stage. We had quadrupled the size of the business."
The company sold nearly 300,000 books last year with around twelve
per cent bought over the internet and the rest mostly ordered by mail.
It has a staff including five customer service workers and a team
of packers. With over 3,500 titles at any one time, its choices available are
certainly broad, from Wordsworth editions selling from £2 to high-end
art books. One of the major selling points for the brand is the fact it gives
50-90 per cent off the cover price of its books, which comes about by
picking up titles and offering them at affordable prices.
Annie said: "We have signed editions, first editions. Publishers need to clear stocks as there are so many books printed. It's a gamble for us though because, unlike a bookshop that has sale
or return, we don't have that. I have to go on gut instinct. That's
where literary knowledge comes in."
The 10-times-a-year newsletter, edited by Annie, is the staple part of the business, with ten of thousands on the mailing list.
"We do independent, honest reviews. I do two-thirds of them and we
ran a competition for contributors in our style for which we had 2,500
people enter. In the end, six people won and they got a contract as
A speciality of Bibliophile is our editor/owner Annie's parents. Her
mother Aileen Armitage has written 34 novels and was Woman of the Year
for this achievement despite her blindness. Her step-father Deric
Longden has six books published, the first two of which became the films
Wide Eyed and Legless
and Lost For Words
, both starring Thora Hird.
See Deric's fan club Message Board
and thier author websites for Deric
Bibliophile has published Deric's Diana's Story
and Lost For Words
and several other titles in Amazon Kindle eBook editions
. Click to buy all Bibliophile's out of print choices to republish in eBook format.
Bibliophile sells books signed whenever possible in our family book club like
those of our author friends like David Day
the Canadian poet,
environmentalist and Tolkien expert, historian Max Arthur, artists Helen
Cowcher and Frieda Hughes, crime writer Simon Brett, Python Terry
Jones, Ray Hammond, cartoonist Neil Kerber, wordsmith Ray Puxley and
the late great George Melly and others have all been happy to sign
their books for Bibliophile. We love their friendships and they love our
enterprise! Another speciality of Bibliophile is our Private Eye cartoonist Tony's
cartoons. A friend of Bibliophile for over 15 years, Tony Husband has
cartooned for dozens of our front covers and section headings lifting
our collective spirits and adding his unique talents to the family book
club. See his website Tony's Cartoons
Our founding father, Australian journalist Max Harris, dreamed up the name for our publication Bibliophile in 1978
with Bill Smith
former editor of Books & Bookmen and owner of an eponymously named
chain of bargain bookshops "Booksmith", the two bookworms founded our
mail order bookclub.
Later the business was partnered by Fred Bass “the New York Bookseller” and owner of the famous Strand Bookstore, now in its 80th year.
In 1991, our Annie Quigley was given the opportunity to buy the business by her mentor Bill Smith when he was dying.
In July 1992 she bought out his widow and Fred Bass and she became
sole proprietor. Since then, it has grown to over four times the size
and is still run by a small, dedicated staff, six of whom have served
over 12 years!
“Remainder”: A book that
remains with a publisher after sales have fallen off, usually sold at a reduced
price. “To their publishers, these books are
mostly dead. To me, they're potential adventures. By turning the pages, I can breathe
them into being.”– Annie Quigley, Editor.
excellence (range, staff, website, premises, promotions and opening hours)
- Bibliophile is a book club with no fee or book of
the month, and our USP is the
bargain prices and quality of the books we select.
- Bibliophile stocks over 3500 titles a year, which are hand
selected from publishers, specialist wholesalers and are sourced in the UK and US
- Each month over 300 newly purchased titles are individually
reviewed, every jacket captured and every price compared.
- We are Independent Booksellers with an eclectic range
of titles; popular sellers, favourite authors, enduring classics and the best
books on over 30 topics from front list, back list, remainders, all picked for
their quality and based on staff knowledge
of the target market.
- 2011 saw the re launch of the Bibliophile website
which was first launched on 1999.
- We provide Email and SMS updates on despatch of book parcels and
confirmation of web orders.
- We value being appointed the mail order supplier of
Wordsworth Classics for over 10 years.
- We are open 24x7x365 days a year through a combination
of website, 36 or 40 page tabloid newspaper catalogues to tens of thousands of
members, customer service phone line, fax, email and the post.
- Bibliophile has always indulged booklovers’ tastes with its
quirky and often maverick literary approach and remains one of those ‘best kept
secrets ‘of the book trade and is independent in its selection, reviewing,
pricing and selling of books.
300th catalogue celebratory cartoon of the Team by Dave James.
Customer Service and the ‘extra mile’
- Bibliophile is built on its staff and we are proud
that 60% of the staff has been with us for over 10 years, 2 over 20 years and the
remaining have at least three years service.
- Bibliophile’s main source of new customers is by recommendation.
The loyalty and retention is important. Personal letters and cards are received
weekly from members, all of which are replied to. (See Forum entered by 97 year old in January 2012).
- A new ‘YouTube’ review service was started on 2011 and
has now a library of 270 video book reviews which provide unique ‘look inside
and feel’ of the book.
- Twitter, Blog and Facebook pages were all launched
- Bibliophile recognises that members are not always at
home and now offers delivery up to 9pm at no additional cost .
- Our network of author friends enables us to often offer
- New website features include an open customer forum
and a Books For Sale and Wants.
- We respect that a customer may have varied interests
and may not always buy from a specific genre. We build on their habits, knowing
each customer and their preferences, which enables us to indulge their tastes.
- We bring books to people who can’t always get to a
store or a library, live in remote areas, or are disabled. This incorporates
such communities such as; prisons, schools, private and public libraries,
shops, reading groups and book clubs, retirement homes, day care centres and
- A significant percentage of members are aged over 60
and, recognising this, we launched our new ‘88 club’, which is our elite
members club for those over 88 years old. They receive mystery books hand
picked by the Editor.
- We have built up a quirky cat loving community with ‘Kitty Korner’ showcasing pictures of customers’ cats.
- We have always
had International customers who join us in increasing numbers.
- Every five weeks we mail our 36 or 40 page tabloid catalogue
covering over 300 new titles within the 1200 titles on offer inside.
- Our website lists over 3400 stocked titles.
- We pride ourselves on offering ‘everyday low pricing ‘
and bargains and value across the store.
- We publish email Newsletters and alerts to new titles
to thousands of members.
- We advertise ‘off page’ adverts and distribute via rented
mailing lists to attract new members.
- ‘New Arrivals’ are added hourly on website as stock is
booked into the database and also highlighted via a ‘New Arrivals’ category.
- Damaged books are sold off “as seen”.
- After 34 years of continued service, Bibliophile is
celebrating its 300th catalogue in March 2012. During this period it has
built a library of tens of thousands of unique reviews and sales data on books many
of which are no longer in print.
- On average customers buy several books per order. We
understand this often eclectic mix which helps us hone our buying selection and
- Bibliophile has an environmental policy which
includes; printing on 100% recycled paper, recycling packaging, not pulping
books, and a ‘power down’ policy. This was a major and mandatory consideration
in the awarding of the Royal Warrant.
What other book club offers you all this?