A Year in Review – 2023

Blog · Posted December 30, 2023

2023. That was the year, that was…


We were lucky enough to host an array of brilliant authors at Mainstreet this year, with, among many others, truly memorable events with Tan Twan Eng, Sebastian Barry, Paterson Joseph, Tracey Borman and James Holland. 

There is nothing a bookseller enjoys more than selling a book they love. This year, Vicky threw her all into championing The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho by Paterson Joseph. Being a renowned Shakespearean actor, he did have a competitive advantage, but it’s fair to say the whole audience experienced goosebumps when listening to his readings during the event we hosted at Mainstreet. We look forward to his return with the next book.


With five large plate glass windows, decorating them is always a challenge and a joy. We have been lucky over the years, to count many talented artists among the Mainstreet team. Most of our displays are created and painted by Jack, this Christmas he enjoyed help from Katrina and Maya from the café team. 

In September, we thoroughly enjoyed hosting illustrator Chloe Savage, who not only ran a brilliant workshop for the children at St Boswells Primary, but also painted one of our windows in the style of her gorgeous picture book, The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish.


In January we kicked off the year by getting a new coffee machine. Our old one had served us well and had been there since the shop opened in 2008. However, it’s time had come and the café staff were treated to the brand new machine that makes some delicious coffee.


The London Book Fair is a big deal in the book world and Sarah and Vicky got to experience it for the first time in April this year. With publisher pitches, meetings and hearings from booksellers across the country, the pair got fully immersed in the wider book world and came back loving it even more than before. 


In May this year, we held our second Fundraising Pop-up Dining event. This time to support survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. We were so proud of the  amazing support from our local community raising £1,662.00 to support Kahramanmamaras Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund (Turkey) and White Helmets (Syria).


If you follow us on socials, you will have seen that one of our beloved bookshop dogs, Luna, had a litter of 8 puppies. 

Owners, Bill and Roz, kept one of the little nuggets and we have gained the gorgeous Raven for our team.


In July we also had a very exciting new addition to the Mainstreet family with the arrival of baby Isabella, a beautiful daughter for our deli manager, Kim and her partner, Richard.


The Deli saw many new products come through its doors as well as lots of new learning opportunities for staff members and customers alike. The highlights are: 

Bill harvested the honey from his beehives, designed a label and popped it on our shelves. It was in high demand and sold out faster than we could have imagined. We are hoping for more this year!

Isobel finally learned what the process is for making orange wine (it is not made from oranges!) and has not looked back since. Orange wine is made with any white wine grape when the skins are left on and are allowed to ferment with the pressed juice. This creates different depths and flavours. 

We discovered Valentian Rosso, a rich yet delicate vermouth made by the Tait Brothers right here in the Scottish Borders. Now a staff favourite, we also ordered specific Mediterranean tonic in to pair it with and this is now also stocked on our shelves. 

Finally, the Rum Baba’s arrived! While Kim was away having a baby, we had babas! 


We had a wonderful week celebrating all things books and booksellers in June. We were also incredibly lucky to have the wonderfully talented Cressida Cowell pay us a visit. 

You can read more about our celebrations with Cressida over on the blog here. 


July also saw the launch of our new website, managed by Sarah, designed by Vivienne Seeley of Vivid Design and created by Pete Urwin of Urwin Designs.

Some of it’s new features are:

Personal Shopping service– By pulling items from every department, Sarah can help you create thoughtful gifts for your friends and family. Find out more here. 

Bringing back our blog – which you have already found if reading this!

New book subscriptions – we have added our Three Months subscriptions and a new Hardback Select Six to provide even more options for the booklovers who we all struggle to buy for. Find out about all our subscriptions here.


2023 has been another year of discovering new wonderful books.. Our books team always have a hard time narrowing down their favourite books over the last 12 months and the list could be much longer if given the opportunity. Our blog will always be full of our favourite reads of the moment but the final list is published in November. 

Find our books team’s Books of the Year for 2023 here. 


At the start of the year Michelle and Roz made their annual trip to January Trade Show. This was a great kickstart to the year and they discovered some of our new favourite suppliers.  They also popped down to London in September to discover new suppliers for our Christmas stock. You can read more about their autumn trip here.

The suppliers that customers and staff have loved to see appear in the home department are: 

 Marmalade, Field Day – you can read about them in another blog here – and Donna Wilson.


Each year we organise a Giving Tree, providing the opportunity for our customers to give a book as a Christmas Gift for children who may not have many books on their shelves at home.

This year, we were again inspired by the generosity of our customers (in-store and online) who donated almost 150 books. Sarah wrapped and ribboned the lot and we distributed these between the Salvation Army in Hawick and the food banks in Kelso and Selkirk. 

Thank you to everyone who bought a book and were able to help us get books into the hands of so many children this Christmas. 


Our old Citroen H van arrived home from being in the shop. It left us in August 2022 to get a new engine (amongst other repairs) and we finally received it back just before Christmas.

Having travelled all the way down to Wales and back, it was a lovely Christmas present for us to get it back. Although it is still in need of work, we are hoping that the Spring of 2024 will see it back in action, transporting authors to schools for events and more! 

As a fundraiser to help make sure it is fighting fit, we are selling one copy of a very special Deluxe Limited Edition signed by Sir Paul McCartney with an exclusive fine art print – No. 161 of 175. You can find out more here.


As we move into 2024, we are excited about lots of upcoming author events.  Sign up to our mailing list if you want to hear all about them.  Plus, Michelle and Roz will soon be off to London again to buy lots of beautiful things for our Home department at Top Drawer. Watch this space!

Finally, we would like to wish you a wonderful new year and hope that 2024 is kind to you all.