I originally had a longer list of bookshops to visit for this blog. Of the eight left on my list, I now realize one has the same address as BooksActually (Polymath & Crust, now defunct, was meant to be BookActually’s more serious sibling), one is actually an “ebook club” (and I’m not really into ebooks), and a whopping three of the eight had shut shop, one as recently as last month.
The romantic me is thinking thoughts like (1) death of independents = death of good literature?, (2) no one’s reading anymore *sad face*, and (3) “Save the Shop Around the Corner and you will save your soul!”
However the pragmatic me is thinking that, as with any business, bookshops need to adapt. The reality is not all readers have deep pockets, and sometimes the large chains and Amazons of the world offer prices that clear the market, period.
On the flip side, there are different types of readers — and not everyone’s looking at price tags. That’s why indie shops like BooksActually, Woods in the Books, and Littered With Books are still around. In marketer-speak, there are different consumer segments for shops to target, and these indies are doing things right by addressing their own special niche. Some people simply want to get from point A to B, while some like the extra legroom.
James Daunt of Daunt Books once said, “Nobody gets rich selling books, you do it because you love it.”
Love is good. Survival would be much better.