At this point any Five Leaves' writer or bookshop worker reading this will be stroking their chin and wondering... but rest assured, those were the old days. In 1984 Bill Norris joined Central, which had already been developing commercially to compensate for the decline of the Communist Party. In due course Bill became managing director and the Communist Party was wound up in 1991 (I do not believe these facts are related). Central was handed over to the workforce and management and, by dint of of closing their London bookshop (making a killing on selling their lease) and moving distribution to Hackney Wick, became the main port of call for small independent publishers. They became a fully professional distribution service. At a later stage I'll post about modern developments in book distribution but these are beyond the 1999 ending of this charming book. No doubt Central still have copies at £5.99, orderable from bookshops with the reference 0714732907.
What is remarkable in the story is how long people worked at Central, and this continues, with most of my contacts, including Bill, having been around for decades. Perhaps they too will be transferred to the Periodical Department when their memory begins to go.