Tag Archives: My Book

Shelved amongst the gods

Recently a letter was dropped on my doormat, addressed to CabbieBlog Imprint. The missive informed me that Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion has been accepted by the British Library.

The most remarkable thing about it, and speaking as someone brought up on the British public library system, is that I can’t just go and pick my own volume off a bookshelf. There are no bookshelves – at least, none accessible by the great unwashed. A reader must order it online, and hopefully, within 48 hours, it’ll be available.

There are only a mere 35 million books in the basement (now hopefully 35 million and one) at the St Pancras building. The vast majority of the collection is up north in Boston Spa, Wetherby, and has to come down in a van if requested.

Should you wish, for some reason that escapes me, to read an antiquarian tome that belonged to King George III, because he gave his entire collection to the nation on the condition it remains visible to the public. And sure enough there it is, behind glass, in the centre of the main atrium. Needless to say, the public can’t just go in and pick one of the Monarch’s books off a shelf, outrageous idea. You have to order it like any other book – it’s just that it doesn’t have to travel by van to get to you.

And all that stuff you learned about the Dewey-Decimal system for categorising books? Forget it. Britain’s national library categorises them by size. Another illusion shattered.

This means that if a folio of Shakespeare’s sonnets is 8″ x 5″ we could be bedfellows.

Competition Results

Crikey! Only fourteen minutes after the competition opened, Simon submitted an entry. Sorry mate, you were nearly 1,400 days out, but thanks for having a stab at it.

You weren’t the only one way out with your guess, the answers ranged from 30 days (if only it only took that long) to 1,500.

Thank you for all the entries that were recorded in the competition’s 23 days of life, and for all of your support.

I’m suspicious that some went as far as to buy the book to obtain the correct answer, a rather extreme way of obtaining two copies of my memoir if you ask me. But, I suppose it gave you the possibility of getting an Amazon voucher, and half a chance to get back your investment.

So the number on everyone’s lips: 1,753 days to complete The Knowledge and gain my Green Badge to become an All-London cabbie. Some qualify in under 3 years, while others have taken up to 10 years. Given that, I took a little over average.

So the winner is Stevie who was only 253 days out, a signed book and Amazon voucher are in the post.

Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion

In mid-life David Styles started a journey of discovering London, embarking on a five-year journey learning The Knowledge of London and unearthing facts along the way unknown to many Londoners. Once qualified he would meet, among others, Grayson Perry dressed as Little Bo Peep and the Archbishop of York on the eve of a Royal Wedding.

Part memoir with useful tips on increasing your memory; part manual on how to pass The Knowledge enabling you to join the ranks of the world’s finest cab service; and part London tourist guide. Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion takes you on a cabbie’s journey from working in an ancient industry facing redundancy to confronting Knowledge examiner, the feared, Mr Ormes.

He discovers how trees were planted in 1399 specifically to repair Westminster Hall’s roof some 500 years later, discloses that a Tory MP confused the Liberal Club with a public toilet, shows why maps are a work of fiction and advises that, for the sake of your health, you really shouldn’t queue outside Madame Tussauds. Where, should you wish, buy American postage stamps, finds Dick Whittington’s cat and seeks out the ancient London Stone.

Boris Johnson gets to be interviewed and the book explains why all London cabbies are obliged to carry a health certificate, at any time, not just when Boris is a passenger, and just what is behind those cabbie green shelters.

A London cabbie for over 25 years, David Styles, writing under the pseudonym Gibson Square (the first ‘Run’ on The Knowledge), has written about London on CabbieBlog.com since June 2008, and his blog has been read by over 1.4 million; he was features editor at Radio Taxis; he has contributed to Time Out, Metro, Evening Standard, Mail on Line, National Geographic; and The Spirit of London, a book presented to Her Majesty the Queen and given to all athletes competing in the London 2012 Olympics. He also appeared in the BBC documentary A Picture of London.

Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion is his first book, available free on Kindle Unlimited or may be downloaded for £4.49, the paperback is modesty priced at £8.99 should you prefer that rather quaint method of reading.

Gavin from New Zealand writes:

I am a Kiwi and served in the London Ambulance Service from 1980-85. I used the cabs regularly. When I came back for a holiday in 2014, I got all our party to use them. Convenient, cheap and took you right to the doorstep of your destination. But the best part is the banter. If you were in David’s cab and he was giving you a commentary like in this book, I wouldn’t want to leave his cab. “The Knowledge” study and test have some intrigue and romanticism about them. David finally sets the record straight in a most enlightening and humorous manner. London is one big history book, far too big to ever be published. If David was my history teacher, I wouldn’t have given up. His explanations of maps, beehives on hotel roofs, trivia and where cabbies go to pee and eat, are all in this book. I couldn’t put this book down. Cheekily written from the heart and the brain.

Win a copy of my book

After nearly four years of work, at last, the big day is here. In a shameless piece of self-promotion to celebrate the publication of Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion, I’m holding a competition to win a signed copy of my memoir.

To enter, all you have to do is guess the number of days it took me to complete The Knowledge.

Entries should be sent via CabbieBlog’s Contact Page (I’ll only need the number of days at this stage).

You may make as many entries as you like.

The closest guess receives a signed copy and a £20 Amazon voucher.

If anyone manages to give the exact number of days, as a bonus prize, a facsimile copy of the original A-Z will also be included.

The competition is open until 23.59 GMT on Sunday 20th November 2022. The winner will be contacted by Saturday 26th November 2022.

Good luck!

Cabbieblog’s decision as to the winner is final. If there are two correct entries CabbieBlog reserves the right to decide the winner. The competition is not open to those in receipt of the digital version of my memoir: Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion, which has been offered free for review. Apart from notifying the winner, no correspondence relating to the competition will be entered into. Up to the closing date, there is no limit on the number of entries a person can make. Cabbieblog reserves the right to cancel or alter or amend the competition at any stage, if deemed necessary in its opinion, or if circumstances arise outside of its control.


Ican manage to format my blog posts, and at a push can perform basic Photoshop tasks, but formatting and converting a manuscript to both Kindle and epub ebook formats is well beyond my expertise.

I’m unlikely to be able to create a front cover from a photograph and superimpose the title and my name upon that image.

All that and ensuring that the work actually fits the book’s size.

It doesn’t end there, the ebook files and supporting metadata have to be uploaded to ensure that the book can be sold in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain and all the other 13 territory-specific Amazon Kindle Stores.

And did I mention buying several ISBNs and depositing a copy at The British Library to comply with the Legal Deposit System?

If you intend to sell on Amazon (they are, after all, the world’s largest) you have to register your own Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account to provide personal access to sales and royalties data, to ensure direct payment to your designated bank account, and making sure you don’t have to pay US taxes.

This is where a qualified ebook formatter comes in. Some are authors looking to add another string to their bow, many are based in the USA, while another offered to fit you in between Zen sessions.

So who to choose?

Well, my choice was eBook Versions. It’s very difficult to compare which company as most don’t provide reviews or even examples of their previous projects. Two things rather led me to my choice. First, the company was based in London, clearly easier to see, than someone from Timbuktu, also I had once indirectly worked with the head of the company.

Not only did they provide the formatting service, but when our emails started getting lost in cyberspace, I received a letter suggesting a different email account was used.

They also read the book’s manuscript making valuable suggestions along the way.

A pdf was sent to allow me to make any corrections, followed by a second version to clear up any missed corrections, and then two printed copies of the book were received at my home, followed by a third pdf addressing the final amendments, followed by a final printed copy.

Once the manuscript has been signed off Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion will, hopefully, be available in the world’s largest book retailer. As they say, watch this space.