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Wanted: Desert Island Bookseller

by | Sep 10, 2018 | Articles and Reports, News

Image source: Soneva Fushi gallery

It is surely the dream bookselling job.  A luxury resort in the Maldives is looking for someone to run its bookshop, the only catch being that they have to sign up for a minimum of three months.  Three months on a luxury desert island?  Tough call.

Philip Blackwell, who gave up running the famous UK bookshop chain that bears his name in 2006, now runs what he calls the Ultimate Library business, which creates exclusive libraries in upmarket resorts around the world.  He is seeking a bookseller for the luxury eco resort of Soneva Fushi in the Maldives.

“The pay is derisory but the fringe benefits unparalleled,” he says.  “The role will evolve and it is in part up to you to make the most of this unique opportunity. It’s a dream job for many people. If I was 25 again I would do it.”

The successful applicant will be expected to sign up for a minimum of three months, during which time they must write “an entertaining and lively blog that captures the exhausting life of a desert island bookseller”. They should have “a passion for books, the ability to engage guests of all ages,” and be able to entertain children with storytelling as well as host creative writing courses for guests.

“We want someone on the ground who is creative and inspiring and can maybe get more people to share the pleasure of reading, which is what people enjoy doing on holiday,” Blackwell said.

The bookshop is a “new experiment” for Blackwell who sold the family business in 2006.  It’s an extension of his Ultimate Library business, and was “set up almost accidentally while travelling the world after leaving Blackwell’s.  He says he found it tricky to source suitable reading matter on his holidays, and so came up with the idea of creating library collections for resort hotels.  He now has more than 250 projects around the world, including more than 30 luxury hotels and resorts as well as a cruise ship, a Kenyan game reserve and a London private members’ club.

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