Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The state of the book trade....

Are bookshops in terminal decline? This is the question posed on the excellent web site for book lovers, The Book Guide. You can read the article and the comments HERE and below is Mark Richardson's, of MR. Books, Bank Street, response in full:

"I opened my bookshop, MR. Books in Tonbridge, almost two years ago so either I'm just plain crazy or I have gambled on there being life in this business ours yet. For me personally the bookshop is partly a lifestyle change, so the idea of sitting behind a computer screen all day, everyday, having little direct contact with customers and mailing out books just doesn't appeal. Obviously the internet is a very important part of our trade, there will be no getting away from that, but it can also be a showcase to advertise books in the shop which customers can come and view for themselves. As for bookshops closing down, as has been commented already, it was ever thus. A customer has recently sent me a picture from about the 1960's of a bookshop two doors way from where mine is now, a building which has since been demolished; I have also seen an advertisement in a 1950 guide to the town with one just around the corner, which I understand closed down around about the same time. Businesses come and go but there is no doubt that the nature of ours is definitely changing, even a relative new boy like me has noticed this. It is a struggle at times but, let's face it, there are a lot worse ways to not earn a living!...

Mark Richardson
Owner of MR. Books
Tonbridge, Kent

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