3. THE DEATH OF THE BRICKS-AND-MORTAR BOOKSHOP.
Now I believe this. No, correction. I believe it to a certain extent. The end is in sight for chains of identikit large bookstores on the High Street. The announcement yesterday of the imminent death of BORDERS and BOOKS ETC. - make no mistake, 'sale' will mean 'death' - has changed everything at a stroke.
Chains of identikit dedicated bookstores on High Streets cost a fortune to maintain - rents, rates, staff wages, insurance, Head Offices, overheads.... the way prices of popular front-lists are being slashed mean profits are dropping. Those chains will be no more. There will be the supermarkets for a limited range - very very limited. There will be WHS and Woolworths - slightly bigger but still front-list only. And there is amazon.
BUT.. think. Does this not present a golden golden opportunity ? Just as small independent publishers are popping up all over the place and doing well - not making fortunes but they are small so they don't have to make a fortune, just a living - so there is, I am absolutely convinced, a golden window of opportunity - I love phrases like that - for a lot of small independent bookshops. They will cram their shelves in a delightful way with a wide range of unusual and varied books. If people want the front list, the books can be ordered from the wholesalers and in store the next day - but the rest will be shelves of delight, the old-fashioned sort of bookshop, where you came upon something unexpected at every turn and never left empty-handed. They do not need to be on the High Street, they need to be in a side street OFF there. They should be small to medium, and it takes genius to get them right. But they are opening and they are being 'got right.' Nic in Bath, Patrick in Chipping Norton, Topping in Ely, Mostly Books in Abingdon, branches of Daunts in London and on and on. This is exactly time for small independent bookshops to rejoice and not to disappear down a deep drain of whingeing and foot-shooting.
If I were twenty years younger......