Walking Away from the Tabletop

It’s been 40ish years.

I’ve been involved with tabletop gaming since the early 80s, leaving the working class area where I was brought up and the only entertainment I had was football and boxing, I started hanging around with a group of middle-class college kids.

and that’s where I discovered Rogue Trader and Dungeons and Dragons and I didn’t look back…

Until

As we all know the last threeish years have been strange for a lot of different reasons and one of the things that has happened has been that I lost touch with all my gaming friends.

This meant that I filled all that gaming time with other projects, mainly book related projects which seem to expand to fill any available time.

After a lot of thought I’m adding a shop to my Ko-Fi and I’m going to get rid of all the gaming bits that are sitting in my garage and study unloved and unused, mainly Warhammer and Malifaux.

Support Big Bearded Bookseller

Support Big Bearded Bookseller

At this point though I will be keeping all my non-DnD RPG books (and maybe trying to play online) and board games (most have a decent solo mode), but unless anything changes drastically those will probably be going the same way as the rest.

I’ve not taken this lightly but it all feels very superfluous at the moment and it could all be converted into a decent Mac Air at the very least.

Now just to find the time to get on with this!


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Indie Bookshops) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Starting Out in Zines

8-page Zine

8-page Zine

It’s taken me years playing about with formats and styles and still I’ve never really come to a decision on how I wanted to show my work, but lockdown has given me a chance to join in with a few workshops and groups and one of them was called The Lockdown Zine Collective where a few FB friends gave input for a collective zine.

That was great fun and I wanted to explore this further and joined in with a live Instagram session that was offered by The Bowes Museum as part of their Bouts Art School summer sessions.

This showed how to make a simple 8-page zine like the one in the top right.

This was fine and after a couple of tries it was quite easy to make the folds and cut, but I wanted to be able to print things out and couldn’t find a template for this.

A little while later I was able to develop a template for Pages (can also be exported to Word if needed) so I can print out what I need and still leave space for hand drawn/written objects in the final zine.

I’ve started producing zines – the first one is called “The New Normal” photos taken of discarded PPE when out on a walk, these will all be small editions but it will mean I’m finally getting my photographs printed and out there in a format I feel happy with.

Will be looking at developing more zines using my photo archive and experimenting with different zine formats, I’ve already bought a heavy duty stapler and some different papers to play about with, it’s also reminded me that I’ve got book-making tools and have made a couple of simple signatures and notebooks.

Will have to dig out those tools as well and have a bit of fun.

Also a great resource on zine making can be found here – how to make a zine

This was originally posted on the 6th October 2020


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Bookbinding with Angela James

Today was the day of the book binding course with Angela James at the Joe Cornish Gallery in Northallerton.

I had been looking forward to this for a while now and really hoping that it would go ahead as the other one I had booked on in Newcastle was cancelled as I was the only one to book.

There was a really lovely group of people to work with and Angela set two projects that were achievable in a day.

A simple(ish) book using one sewn signature with a glued cover to hide the stitching, this was good as though I have books on stitching a signature, actually seeing it done and having someone to help you through it clarified what I had been reading. I felt that this book went well and was really happy with the end product.

After making this we broke for lunch in the new cafe at the Joe Cornish Gallery for a lovely salad and cake.

The afternoon project was harder as it was sewing several signatures onto a piece of vellum/suede. I kept getting the tension wrong and the book has ended up really loose, but since I have the tools at home I thought I could unpick the stitching and sew it back later, and maybe use this as a practice piece until I feel confident in making this type of book.

The course was really worth the wait and I’m really looking forward to getting on and making some more of my own books.

originally published 25/5/13


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Reviews vs. Ratings

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

There’s been a lot of discussion on Twitter lately on a lot of different things re. ARCs, positive reviews, book bloggers, and their intentions when picking up books to review so I thought I would add my tuppence to it.

I, like most of the bloggers I chat with and follow, buy most of the books I review, the vast majority of them in fact. We don’t blog or review books for the free books, in fact we seem to do it as a bit of a compulsion and our sheer love of books.

I do love getting ARCs though and I only ever request (as do the majority of bloggers I’ve talked to) books I’m determined to read and review before the book is released and to fulfil all the requirements of the author/publisher in that respect. So far this year I have read all the ARCs before their release date.

My review policy though sometimes means I won’t review the book as I only give positive reviews when I do write one. If I’ve DNFed the book, or given it a low rating at Goodreads I won’t review it. Though every book I read does get a rating at Goodreads I really don’t promote that side too much as books are a very personal thing and books I didn’t like others may love and vice versa.

So if you don’t see a review of the ARC you sent me before the book is published it has probably fallen foul of me not actually liking the book and rather than write a negative review, I rate it and move on. This lets others who have loved it to fill the space and shout about it.

I would rather be shouting to the rooftops about the books I have loved though and will get those reviews out to anywhere that will take them to help give those books the publicity I believe they deserve.

I do realise that physical ARCs are an expensive product, so maybe easier access to eARCs (I only recently discovered NetGalley) would help bloggers to review wider.

It just seemed as though bloggers had been targeted once more as the villains of the piece where all the bloggers I know blog for the love of books and love of the writers and want to support the industry in any way they can.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.