Bookshops like many high street shops have been suffering a drop in demand with people buying online. Bookshops have been particularly badly hit because their online competitors are brilliant! When you buy a book on Amazon you know you have probably got it cheaper than you would anywhere else, the purchasing system is so fast and really easy to amend once ordered and you know that it will turn up on your door step the very next day and in brilliant easy to open packaging (it's the little things that matter!)
If The Gruffalo is £6 on Amazon and £10 in the independent book store then people are going to buy it from Amazon - that's just basic A-Level economics.
But the book shops need to think beyond books and think about what Amazon CANNOT do. They cannot make you (and charge you for) a lovely foaming cappuccino with a moist, tangy, sweet slice of lemon drizzle cake and read your kids a story while you have a gossip with friends. They can't detach your kids from away from your waist by enticing them with a ball pit, pirate ship and slide.
Stop bemoaning the decline in book sales and start thinking about what you can offer that the digital world cannot.
If you just sell books and do nothing else, then expect to go under. But, get yourself a Nespresso machine, milk frother, someone from the area who makes lovely lemon drizzle cake (who is also willing to put on a wig and tell stories in a funny voice), a ball pit and a sign outside your shop telling everyone about these things - and you might just have a good chance of surviving.
With the additional pressures of rising costs and the economic downturn that face all small retailers, 67 local bookshops closed last year, according to the Booksellers Association, while just 26 opened, leaving 987 still trading. "Everyone should sit up and take notice of this," said Tim Godfray, chief executive of the association. "The book trade, the government and the general public need to realise that if we don't take action now, the future of our bookshops – and therefore the health of the publishing industry and reading itself – is at risk."