Thursday, April 07, 2016

'Do Bookshops Have a Shelf Life?'

Shelf Awareness

Richard Watson
"Confusing the future of bookshops with the future of books is a rookie mistake. I made the mistake myself with public libraries until I suddenly realized it was what was inside the libraries that really mattered. This includes books, of course, but there were also people and people are conduits of history, knowledge and skills, which transfers into physical happenings and events. Good bookshops, like good public libraries, are where people that want to escape the frantic pace of modern life can go for some quiet contemplation. They are somewhere that people can go to escape the torrent of digital distraction too.

"Bookshops and pubs, together with post offices and schools, are the four pillars upon which a local community is built and to my mind no fragile friendship built online can compete."

--Author Richard Watson, in a blog post for the Bookseller headlined "Do bookshops have a shelf life?"

And this:

Over the weekend, Waterstones opened Harpenden Books, "the third shop in the company's portfolio to be named after the town it is based," part of a plan initially announced by Waterstones in 2014 to open "quintessentially local bookshop" locations.

Waterstones managing director James Daunt commented: "We are delighted to bring back to Harpenden a proper bookshop. It builds on the great success we have had with Southwold Books in Suffolk and The Rye Bookshop in Kent, towns which had also lost their shops. We are very proud of these local bookshops which, whilst a lot smaller than a standard Waterstones, are exceptionally attractive and well stocked."

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