Last weekend, I stopped by the Horizons Bookshop in Burnham. I met the owner, a woman with a real passion for books and reading, and it occurred to me how much we miss when we buy books online.
Forget the argument about real book v e-book – that’s for another day. I’m talking about the sort of personal service you get from a bricks and mortar bookshop.
In particular from an independent bookshop.
I read the other day that there are less than a thousand independent book shops in the UK. That’s a terrifyingly small number of independents to serve more than 63 million people. (Gets out phone, finds calculator app) That’s only one independent book store for more than 63,000 people. I probably should not need a calculator to do that.
There are of course, WH Smiths and Waterstones – and they do have cheaper books because they buy in bulk. But what they don’t have is the local touch. The books stocked by the chains are for the most part decided by someone at head office, and they are unlikely to wander far from the mass market best sellers. The local store managers have little say in what goes on their shelves, what authors visit or what events take place.
This is where independent bookshops are so wonderful. They can stock whatever books they think their local community will like. They are free to organize events and signings and… anything really that will help more people find books they enjoy reading.
So – I say – support your independent book shop!!!
Next time you feel like finding something new and different to read – go to an independent bookshop. Pat a book or two. You might just find something interesting there. Something that takes your reading in a new direction.
Webmaster John found a really interesting book on maps at Horizons… he wouldn’t have seen that on Amazon!!