I visited Blackwell’s yesterday. We have a very good one in Edinburgh, it took over from James Thin a few years ago. I used to spend a lot of time in Blackwell’s in Oxford, usually buying technical books rather than novels. If you have never been there and ever get the chance to visit, it’s well worth it (the sign over the shop in Edinburgh says ‘Blackwell’s’. In Oxford it says ‘Blackwell’. I wonder if they know that?). Blackwell’s is quite different from Waterstone’s. What I noticed in Blackwell’s yesterday was that there seems to be an unusually large number of covers on show on the shelves, rather than just spines. For me, it made browsing more pleasurable. Perhaps I just like pictures. The Edinburgh shop appears to have a roof leak, though – not buckets everywhere, as in some of these B&Q-sized shops, but all in one place. The carpet was paved with washing-up bowls and empty plastic book tubs. I walked out of Blackwell’s an hour or so later – maybe three hours – into the worst blizzard I have seen for years. Better leave the bowls and tubs right where they are, guys.