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Well, This weekend i went to Foyles in Charing Cross Road in London! it is a big store and they have 3 floors. its a chain of stores in the UK!, first of all because its one of the biggest book selling store in the UK and i experienced an awkward situation.
I went there looking for a book so i asked at the reception where would the book be, and the girl was very helpful so i went downstairs and when i got there i was socked!
There were only two people working on a huge floor. so i went and tried to look for my book and could not find, so i went and ask one the people working there, the guy went and checked on the computer and said " yes, we do have 5 of the book in the store" and i said ok, where do i find them? and the Guy said " well i dont know where they are!" I felt that something was weird there because it was sunday 12:00 noon, maybe because they just opened just a few minutes earlier all the staff were a little bit slow or just lazy! I am just saying that it was not a nice experience for me that day. The shop is really good with a great variety of books!
And that was it! so he could not find them book eventhough their system was showing that they had 5!
I thought it was a disrespect with the customer, because i was there to buy and they should know where the book was! I spent almost one hour there looking for it!
Then i got fed up and went to Borders! where they found the book for me in a second!
So foyles lost a customer for something that they shoudl be taking care of! Their Customers!!
I hadnt been to foyles for years but recently paid the store a visit, only to find that it has changed... for the better!
For those of you who havent been to this colossal shop on Charing X road, this must be one of the biggest bookshops in the world. It has five large floors, with books on every conceivable topic (there are 56 departments!). For example, there's an extensive display dedicated to books on busses! And another for military aircraft. For academia, the range is excellent. The medical section must be one of the best in London. There is also a large music area (with sheet music) and it has recently incorporated 'Silver Moon' - the specialist woman's bookshop. In addition, I noticed a small gallery, and of course a coffee shop (a rather uninspiring one if you ask me). The fiction dept on the 1st floor is huge, and isnt confined to the current best sellers.
Foyes has been around since 1906. I had stopped going as it had turned into a disgusting pit of disorganised departments, with hand written signs everywhere (leading you to the wrong places), books displayed on cardboard boxes, and hopeless staff. It looked as if it had barely changed since then, and used to make me feel miserable!
But falling sales and the death of the long time owner (I forget her name) prompted change. The whole shop has been refurbished, but it retainins some of the quirky atmosphere of the old store, which keeps it refreshingly different to the ubiquitous Watersones and Borders, found everywhere else.
The range remains excellent (if not better), and there is now a stock control system.. allowing you to check if a book is in stock. I believe they have also introduced security for the first time, previosuly they would lose lots of books to shoplifting and not even know due to poor stock keeping!
This isnt a bookshop to spend the day looking through popular books on a comfortable sofa. But if you want to find any book, if it's not there, it wont be anywhere! Although its special offers dont seem to quite match the big chains, there are discounds on books, and they seem to frequently have promotion.
Definately worth a visit if you are in town.
To avoid being london-centric I should mention that Foyles also has an excellent website for mail order. They offer free postage for all orders. I have found that because of the free postage, it ends up being cheaper than using eg Amazon, for small orders. And they have an extremely wide stock.
Foyles now has two little new sister branches - one on the South Bank Centre, and one in Selfridges! Much smaller affairs but still welcome additions to the bookstore scene.
PLEASE NOTE - I ALSO PUBLISH ON CIAO AS dan_ep
Foyle’s, the self-proclaimed oldest and largest bookshop in London, has long been something of a national institution. Situated at 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London (on the left-hand side as you face north in the Oxford Street direction), its half a dozen floors were practically required visiting in my 1970s student days, even if you were a sad typical penniless student whose idea of fun on Saturday morning was a spot of cheapskate browsing in the new publications section on the ground floor. Times changed, and for a while Foyles failed to change with them. Its appalling system whereby you joined a queue to pay for your book at one till and then tagged on to the end of another queue elsewhere in order to pick it up became notorious, and many of us simply went elsewhere. Worse still, the infamous chairman and owner Christina Foyle became something of a hate figure in the 1980s for her ‘them-and-us’ attitude towards her workforce. "When I'm gone, this marvellous bookshop will be gone," she said in 1994, not long before her death. What a defeatist. However, not only did it survive her, but under her nephew Christopher, it is on the way up again. Competition from several other new kids on the block, particularly Waterstones and Borders directly opposite, has given it the good shaking it needed. I visited it in August 2002 for the first time in several years, and was impressed by how modern it looked. Gone is that ridiculous two-tills system. The new book display in various categories on the ground floor is returning to its 1970s glory, and alongside most of its competitors, it has introduced price discounts on bestsellers. At present it is in the middle of a vast refurbishment. One article I read recently said the premises have 30 miles of shelving (no, I didn’t go in with a tape measure to vouch for the accuracy of that statement). The lower floors have been done, with f
resh guiding. Get on to the second floor, and you’ll find a certain amount of empty shelving with carpenters’ tools alongside and the odd whiff of sawdust. Go higher up, and some antiquated yellow guiding still clings forlornly to the shelves. But normal service continues, more or less. Once Foyles had a small but worthwhile secondhand section. Now this has been integrated with the new books. Such a policy has its pros and cons, but while browsing in the historical section (on the top floor – just my luck - OK, they do have escalators), I found a number of secondhand titles alongside new publications, with transparent library covers added to protect the dust jackets. The prices struck me as a little high, compared with what you might expect to pay in other bookshops further down Charing Cross Road. But not having to visit a separate section, and find everything in one subject area, is quite helpful. In addition to the core business, Foyles is also home to Silver Moon, Europe’s biggest women’s bookshop (that’s what it says, honest – I think that refers to the stock, rather than 8 ft. women), and Ray’s Jazz Shop, a long-established venture which was recently threatened with closure due to massive business rate rises, and which is due to be relaunched later this year as a combined jazz shop and café. Though I’m not a jazz fan, I rather like the eye-catching window display with its free-hanging mobile of vintage 78 rpm records. Finally, Foyles have a website which allows you to check for any available book. They sell online, though p&p is extra (for example, UK £2.95 standard post, £3.95 1st class, no extra charge for more than one book per order). Their summer reading promotion lists 25 titles with £1 off the retail price. Here you can also find details of forthcoming literary luncheons - some old traditions never die - with forthcoming guests to include Jane Asher and Jeremy P
axman, and job vacancies. In conclusion, the shop itself may look a little less user-friendly than Waterstones or Borders. But maybe one should suspend judgement until the refurbishment is complete. It’s certainly an improvement on what it was a few years ago.
Foyles USED to be the biggest bookshop in London, located half way up Charing Cross road. Although it does have a large selection, it is cramped, claustrophobic, and imported books are pricey. And then the new Waterstone mega-store bookshop arrived. Yay, a New York style bookshop in England. Four floors of books, books, and more books. The prices just like any other Waterstone, are quite competitive, with a few special offers here and there. Even the imports are comparable to amazon. They've thought of everything, it has a juice bar where you can sit down and read books. It has sofa's through out where you can also (you’ve guessed it) sit down browse and read books. It is spacey and big, big, big, big, big. Many well-known books are even signed by the author. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. The children's book selection is gigantic, and suitable for kids of all ages. It is the biggest bookshop in Europe, and you will notice it. Where is it exactly? Get out at Piccadily Circus, and walk along Piccadily Road(have a look at a map before you leave the tube station to work out which road that is) It is located 100 metres up the road on the left hand side.