Hey everyone! I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the rise of Am*zon and other places that sell new books for cheap and what it means for the humble bookshop. Whether it’s a chain or an independent, I sincerely feel like us book lovers need to support our bookshops and booksellers while we can by making the choice to buy our books from there where possible.
As a bookseller myself, I am privy to the impact that places such as supermarkets, W. H. Smith and the-site-who-shall-not-be-named are having on the book world and what it could potentially mean for bookshops. Bookshops are special places full of fellow bookworms who would love to talk to you about your favourite books and offer recommendations – something that isn’t so readily available elsewhere. Here are my top 10 reasons that you should support your local bookshop.
*NOTE: I do understand that not everyone is able to spend that extra money/make the journey to a bookshop and other alternatives are better/more convienient but my point here is that, if you can, please try and support the bookshops and booksellers near you!
🌸 BOOKSELLER KNOWLEDGE
As I alluded to above, bookshops (both chain and independent) are staffed by total bookworms – like me! – who love nothing more than getting to chat to you about your favourite books and what you might like to read next. There’s honestly nothing we love better than being able to offer a new recommendation to someone who goes away very happy with their purchase and with a new book world to dive into. I absolutely love it when a customer returns to me to let me know that they loved what I recommended last time and now they want something else – talk about job satisfaction!
This kind of book knowledge (particularly about new releases and what book is similar to one you’ve enjoyed) isn’t found at the other alternative places to buy books and is a valuable, and enjoyable, interaction for everyone involved!
🌸 BOOKSELLER EFFORT
Similarly to the above, bookshops are full of booksellers who put in so much effort every day to bring you not only the newest books on offer, but also to offer a tidy and comforting atmosphere for your browsing and answer any queries that you may have. It’s not strange for booksellers to go to any lengths possible to source the book that you want to read or to chat with you to find a perfect next read. We’re constantly reading up on what’s new, who has a new debut, arranging tables that offer some classics and new recommendations and generally just trying to make your browsing experience as wonderful as possible. We’re good eggs, come see!
🌸 BROWSING + RANGE
There’s nowhere like a bookshop to have a good old browse for your next read. While you might argue that you can do this online, you can’t pick up and put down your choices, read the first few pages, or really compare two books and come to a concrete decision. Bookshops offer a huge range of new and classic books for you to discover all in one place.
🌸 MEETING LIKEMINDED PEOPLE
Bookshops are a fabulous place to meet other bookworms just like yourself, and I don’t just mean the booksellers! Bookshops will often be full of other people who enjoy the same books as you browsing in your favourite sections and there’s nothing I love more than seeing two customers spark up conversation based on their favourite series.
🌸 EVENTS + BOOK CLUB
Bookshops are places full of bookish events, including (but most definitely not limited to): author signings and talks, launch nights, book clubs and children’s activities. This means that we can offer a spotlight to emerging authors and exciting new releases, helping to boost local or new authors into the book scene. All of these events aren’t things that you’ll find over on Am*zon or in a supermarket and can be wonderful memories and potentially once-in-a-lifetime author encounters!
🌸 CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
Whether you have children or not, I’m sure that everyone can agree that getting children into reading is super important! Bookshops are often able to boast Children’s floors with dedicated and knowledgeable Kid’s Booksellers who are full of recommendations tailored to each child. You can also often find story times, treasure hunts and exciting school holiday activities to get your child interested in the world of books. You can’t go and celebrate Roald Dahl Day over at Am*zon, can you? There’s also the opportunity to extend a hand to schools by offering talks from booksellers or even just the chance to browse and pick out their own book. Reading is crucial for kids and bookshops are a perfect place to nurture that interest.
🌸 SPECIAL EDITIONS
Waterstones in particular often gets special editions of books that become collector’s items as they go out of print, meaning that you have something special on your shelves! Similarly, gift editions and particularly fancy bindings of books can be found in bookshops but rarely elsewhere unless you want to do some real online digging. Secondhand bookshops often offer the possibility of a special early edition of a classic or an old cover that’s now out of circulation – true treasure for a bookworm!
🌸 SIGNED COPIES
Similar to the above, bookshops are fabulous places for authors to pop into to sign any copies of their stock that are available. This happens all the time in the bookshop that I work in and it’s always a wonderful experience and means that we can offer our customers something special – a hand signed copy of the book they were looking for, or even just an added bonus for a Christmas gift!
🌸 SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY
Whether your local bookshop is a smaller indie store or a larger chain, by choosing to shop with them rather than online, you’re helping to support smaller businesses or even ones that are already well established but, either way, serve the community and keep your hard earned money local.
🌸 WE MIGHT DISAPPEAR
If people continue to make the choice to shop online or elsewhere for books, the humble bookshop may lose it’s spot on your high street. Bookshops are wonderful places to browse, to while away the hours with a coffee, a chat and a spectacular new read but if we lose custom, you may eventually lose our book knowledge, our author events and a place to pick up and browse through a large range of new reads. It’s a sad picture but has to be faced as a possibility. (Luckily us booksellers are a tough bunch and we’re doing everything we can to ensure that it won’t happen on our watch 💪🏼).
And there we have it! Those are my top 10 reasons for supporting your local bookshops, chain or independent, current or secondhand. Obviously, as per my note, I understand that this isn’t always the case for everyone but if you do have the means then it’s definitely something that you should consider before hopping online or to the supermarket.
What do you think of these reasons? Do you agree? Are there any that you’d add? I’d love to know! I’d also love to hear about any good experiences that you’ve had at a bookshop! Is there one that you shop with religiously?