Pundits had predicted this, of course: online shopping was too easy, and physical books too burdensome. Bookshops couldn’t compete with eBooks and Amazon, and soon – like record stores – they’d all go bust.
Or so, at least, we thought.
“I thought that too!” laughs Mark Rubbo, when I pose this to him. But for Rubbo, managing director of Australian booksellers Readings, the Borders downfall signalled a new beginning: the long, hard battle he’d been fighting had been won.
We meet at his flagship store in Carlton, to discuss what makes Readings one of the best bookstores in the world. That’s not necessarily hyperbole, either: on Wednesday at the London Book Fair, Readings won International Bookstore of the Year, a category open to all stores outside of the UK.