Friday, November 27, 2009

'Local' Bookshop Goes Bust

Yep, Borders is no more. And, um, the closest outlet was in Lakeside Thurrock. But d'you see what I've done there? By judicious use of the inverted commas, nobody in their right mind is going to think I'm referring to our actual, local biblio-bloke's splendid tome emporium on King Street, right here in the throbbing heart of Ramsgate's bustling metropolis.

In fact I would imagine Michael is, as we speak, calling the administrators to arrange for three bargain pallet loads of surplus Maeve Binchys (or should that be 'Binchies'?) to be trucked down the M2 pronto! Good luck to yer, Michael!


Anonymous said...

In these turbulent times for booksellers, and retail in general,Michael and his like are vital to us all. Please support your independent bookseller where you can. It's a sad fact Michael is the only true independent in Thanet these days. Only three years ago, you had two branches of Albion Bookshop as well. In other towns, Herne Bay has no bookshops, Whitstable has two, Deal has no less than three (admittedly two sell other things as well but are all popular)and Sandwich has one. It was recently reported that supermarkets now account for 20 per cent of new book sales with Tesco having half of that sector.

Michael Child said...

I have to admit that recently I have been thinking that if towns want cultural amenities like bookshops and music shops then somewhere along the line and at some level of government, something will have to be done to subsidise them.

Art galleries, libraries and theatres get this to a greater or lesser degree and the new Turner Contemporary will have a government funded bookshop in it.

I am not quite sure what I am asking for here, but obviously it would be beneficial if my bookshop was somewhere in Ramsgate’s café culture, rather than right on the end of the town centre.

Almost invariably when I see plans for regeneration, if there is an illustration of a run of cafés and shops there invariably a bookshop shown, but of course the rents relate to the profit margins of things like cups of coffee, not books.

It is the same with the local history facilities, where I am beginning to wonder where the local history facilities that I produce figure in terms of museums and archives all of which are subsidised.

A prime example of this is the way I have to handle Ramsgate Library archive, I publish a bit over 120 local history books which the library wanted, in the end the only way they seemed to be able to get them was by me donating them to them, which is what I did.

Anonymous said...

It's very simple. Shops should sell things that people want. Shops that fail to do this go bust. Shops that do this effectively make money. If you're losing money, sell something else.

Richard Eastcliff said...

If things were, indeed, 'as simple as that', 5:34pm, Margate should have been consigned to the knackers' yard yonks ago. Not getting £60m of our money pumped into it!

Anonymous said...

never a truer word said - amazing how that amount of money can be spent and still the town doesnt look any better.
You go to Deal or Sandwich and every possible property has been renovated, repainted etc and still Margate looks so grotty. Can't pinpoint the reason, is Margate really so undesirable, is it because of the local lack of democracy that puts people off?
Not a great advert when if you are a D FL and you bought an appartment at the Sea bathing and now you can't get your car in there is it?

Graham said...

When I was growing up in Margate in the 60's and 70's, the town was a rotten borough. It's not changed much in that respect. One of the best things about Margate is the road out.
Borders is still in business of course...I popped into one on Charing Cross Road yesterday. Sad to report, the stores are not a patch on the Borders stores here in Dallas (which are owned by a different corporation and which are most definitely still in business). They are kind of tatty and not very hospitable. If you want to survive against supermarkets and other mass sale locations, you need to offer a nice experience, not just a "grab and pay" process.
P.S. Note unambiguous statement about Borders US still being in business. This is henceforth to be known as the Euroferries Legal Pre-Emption Defence...

Richard Eastcliff said...

Er, yes Graham. Good thinking there!