Friday 13 December 2013

Christmas and Nessie

I popped into one of the main Edinburgh bookstores yesterday for a bit of Christmas shopping but thought I would also check up on their cryptozoological offerings. With a particular focus on looking out for any Loch Ness Monster books, it came as no surprise that there was nothing on display. I include even sceptically minded books in that search.

So while it was a relief not to see the likes of Abominable Science's poor handling of Nessie on offer, I was wondering if the lack of books on offer reflected the public's lack of interest in the subject? After all, the popularity of shows like "Finding Bigfoot" would suggest a keen interest.

The most likely section for Loch Ness Monster and cryptozoological books to be found is strangely the "Spirituality" section of the book store. Ironically, the "Popular Science" section was right beside it (and I checked there in vain for cryptozoologically sceptical books). I would also point out that, being in Scotland, there is also a "Scottish Interest" section. Sadly, that had no Nessie books either.

The "Spirituality" shelves seem to be a catch-all for anything kooky. Alongside the expected titles on astral projection, angels and poltergeists were UFOs and conspiracy theory titles. There were two monster-type books on sale. The first was Jospeh Nigg's "Sea Monsters" which was interesting from a sea serpent point of view but not Nessie. The one title that was Loch Ness Monster related was one previously covered here. That title was "The Loch Ness Monster: And Other Unexplained Mysteries" by J. F. Derry. Strictly this is a book about newspaper stories about Nessie and other mysteries, nevertheless, it is an interesting book.

Of course, people tend to order books online these days and one will find a richer selection of books on the major retailer websites. But if the walk in bookstore is an indicator of what is most popular to the general public, then clearly good old fashioned mysteries are falling short.

As a final comment, the "Popular Science" shelves were about a third bigger than the "Spirituality" shelves. In my younger days, the latter shelves would have been a lot bigger. Doubtless, an indicator of trends, even if Nessie-sceptical books can't get a look in!

I wonder what readers are seeing in their bookstores?


  1. I never see Loch Ness related books in book stores, which I always found odd because I remember reading about the LNM being one of the most looked up things at some point - sorry about the lack of details, but I don't have time to look it up...Encyclopedia Britannica or something, back in the '90s I used to find the occasional "paranormal" section, and sometimes still I will find an "occult" section, but yes these are usually filled with Bigfoot/UFO/ghost books, and most book stores do just toss these books into the Spirituality section if they bother at all.

  2. alas, we may be the last of the breed: in my neck of the woods, BN is the only bricks and mortar entity, and music stores are a thing of the past. as far as any books about our beloved "Beastie", yours might just be the last, best book on the subject. as a sidebar: congrats on the mention in the 40th yr. Fortean Times issue

  3. Well way back in the 70's, my first two LNM books (Holiday & Witchell paperback editions) were impulse purchases stumbled upon in the Science Fiction section at Kroch & Brentano's. We know some would call that appropriate filing ;-) That's also where they filed books on Atlantis, UFOs, and adult fantasy such as Tolkien, Dunsany, Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard.

    My Mackal came from a used book store where it was prominently displayed with the "just in" stuff near checkout, only months after its release. I never saw it for sale in a regular bookstore, though I haunted them every week back then.

    And I don't think I've seen a single LNM book in any brick and mortar bookstore since those times, almost 40 years on!

    1. Roy Mackal has just died apparently...

    2. Yes, saw that but waiting a bit for confirmation before posting.

    3. It is an interesting coincidence that GB brought up the subject of Loch Ness books and Steve P mentioned Mackal just before we learned of his death...I wonder how many of us who follow this blog have that book? And how many of them went to check out Mokole Mbembe (sure I spelled that wrong!)...

  4. Well, part of the issue is not much is being published these days. Just check out what was being published/republished in the peak days of the 1970s.

    All a bit academic, if bookshops are on the way out!

  5. bodge from suffolk15 December 2013 at 06:26

    Yeh my 1st LNM book was The story of Dinsdale bout 72ish .Sure there used to be a few books about loch ness in the main book shops , are we all 'of a certain age' ? but i must say i got most of my books in second hand shops or sell off's from the local library, aah nostalgia..not what it used to be !!!
    Happy Christmas everyone (am i a bit too soon??) hope 2014 is gonna be an interesting one for us 'nessie' lovers .