Our socials have been somewhat silent and our newsletters few, as we have had our heads down and noses to the grindstone for the past few months getting to grips with a number of seed changes for the Emporium, not least a change of premises . . .
As our mail order continues to go from strength to strength we have outgrown, rather bittersweetly, our beloved former HQ at No. 41 High Street. With every surface taken up by stock there was no longer room to swing a flea, let alone a feline. At Christmas we couldn’t move for mailbags full of orders, and Royal Mail’s lithest post personnel were struggling to get in the door. Quite frankly things we’re getting silly, especially from a health and safety point of view – oh how our fire officer would despair!
It was timely then that the building’s resident owners and Discworld Emporium founders Bernard and Isobel also decided to put the old girl on the market in favour of somewhere more practical to call their home. The time had come for Discworld to leave the building, and the first few months of the year were spent moving premises to our new residence just down the road, and still in the heart of Ankh-Morpork’s twin town, Wincanton. The Turtle Moves – but not very far!
Of course it was incredibly sad to leave No. 41 and to see it empty. A hallowed hall of literary import for over twenty years the place is more than just a building, but a trailblazing point of pilgrimage for geeks and book nerds, No.41 is a place where stories were shared, friends made and romances ignited. Where incredible millinery ducked under the door, and folks queued down the road for a fix of novelty postage stamps and perhaps a glimpse of the author himself. A place where Bernard and Isobel took a chance on putting up a young Ian and Reb who once hid at the top of the stairs excitedly earwigging a meeting between a famous author and a prestigious media company, completely unaware of how bound they would become to this wyrd little shop.
Although initially feeling slightly at sea in our considerably newer sand comparatively clinical new home, now we’ve got the place filled with all our stuff we feel right at home. Our fire officer no longer fears for our safety, and we are certainly feeling the benefit of having more room for the creative juices and fruit to flow, and for our children to play, read and learn the ropes of the family business! Our new headquarters are in a building rather fittingly called ‘Guild House’ where we have enough room to swing not just a cat, but two children. At last we can enjoy plenty of daylight, and most importantly, we have room enough for all our books. Almost.
Our downstairs quarters house our design studio, mailroom, book room and stock rooms galore. Upstairs, we are blessed with studios for prints and photography, plus a big bright communal area with a kitchen for frying up a bacon sandwich, and lots of space for the little ones to play while we work, not to mention and celebrate birthdays and special occasions!
In a small but delightful coincidence our lovely neighbours are the TP group (not a Pratchettarian Cult, unfortunately, but clever sorts who work on military defence-tech.) Although our offices are not open to the public we have had fun adding little Discworld touches to our new digs, covering it in original artworks from our various Discworld Publications that have previously been hidden away in storage, plus lots of ephemera from the old shop. We are now most definitely not open to the public, but having worked hard to restructure our operations we are hoping to have more free time to spend out and about attending conventions and events with you all!
We also sadly said goodbye to our long-serving team members Sarah and Eilis earlier this year, who have moved on to begin adventures new. These ladies have been part of our fabric and family for many a year, and we are missing them hugely. The task of finding and acquainting ourselves with new staff who would be equally as wonderful has been quite the undertaking. Add in a succession of not-so-minor health wobbles and personal catastrophes all going on all at the same time, and it’s certainly the Truth that that times have been interesting!
Despite the trials of the year and falling behind on our releases, we have managed to unleash a few major products this year, including the Mappa Discworld art Print Edition and Two new puzzles being The Witch Trials and The Glorious 25th of May which were released on the day of the Glorious Revolution, both exquisitely illustrated by David Wyatt of course! ‘Glorious’ Art prints of these incredible artworks are also available for those of a less puzzling bent!
We are particularly proud of Discworld Denizens collections of miniature figurines released in June. sculpted to our designs by Shaun Main, Discworld Denizens are little figurines with BIG personalities from the badass to the gorblimey! The first collections were the City Watch and Unseen University collections which have gone down the proverbial storm, and we are itching to unleash the next figures in the series which will be coming to your shelves this Hogswatch!
Big book releases this year have been the paperback version of a Life With Footnotes, the official Terry Pratchett, summed up perfectly by quote on the cover from the Telegraph: ‘Spins magic from mundanity in precisely the way Pratchett himself did’. Rob really tells it ‘how it was’ by illuminating the real Sir Terry Pratchett that those closest to him knew, with all his quirks and equal strokes of awkwardness and genius that oft came hand in hand. Our thanks to Rob for recounting our small parts on Terry’s stage and congratulations for winning the 2023 Locus Award for Non-Fiction and the 2023, and British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Non-Fiction!
This will be followed in October by A Stroke of The Pen featuring ‘lost stories’ discovered in no small part by Jan and Pat “Lord of the Uber-fans” Harkin after trawling through old newspapers in search of forgotten stories by Sir Terry written under a pseudonym. We are so chuffed that it was Pat and Jan, stalwarts and pinnacles of the Discworld fandom and friends of the Emporium (and indeed the author himself) to have brought these stories to the world’s attention. Thank you Pat and Jan!
Now that we are back on track, and through he fog of recent challenges, it’s shaping up to be another ‘Terry’ good year for all things Pratchett. We have also been treated to Good Omens 2, new paperback editions of the Discworld series, plus a new Discworld Calendar for 2024 featuring the artwork of Paul Kidby. Most excitingly for us however, was the release of Royal Mail’s official Discworld set of postage stamps and ephemera! Of course, Terry Pratchett characters have featured on royal mail stamps before, but this is the first, and quite frankly overdue release entirely dedicated to Discworld. As proud purveyors of Discworld stamps since 2004 it was a thrill to be asked to contribute the words to this collection, which we’re sure you will agree were enough to make Stanley Howler explode with excitement!
Thank you all for your patience in waiting for new releases, and here’s to more magic in the months ahead – in the meantime . . .
MIND HOW YOU GO!
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