The sad news came last week of the closure of The Lion and Unicorn bookshop in Richmond. I'll pause for a few moments while you go and read the story behind this closure.
*hums a gloomy tune*
So, the reasons are not complicated: higher costs, caused by rising rates, rents and wages, against falling income, caused in large part, says the article, by Amazon.
I'm no apologist for Amazon, which regularly behaves in a way I detest, but in this case Amazon merely offers temptation and opportunity and they have the right to do both. Temptation and opportunity to satisfy our impatience and desires at the click of a finger and often (though by no means always) very cheaply.
It's people who succumb to that temptation. It's the people who could have bought a book from the Lion and Unicorn (or whichever bookshop we are talking about at the time) but bought from Amazon instead. And ditto with other bookshops.
I'm not trying to guilt-trip anyone here. We're all busy; we all want lovely books and we want them effortlessly. We all love a bargain and we don't want to pay more than necessary for something, which is understandable, thrifty. (Though let's not forget libraries as being the way of getting a book in the cheapest way possible.)
But there are consequences to our buying choices. We have to consider that the death of bookshops (or other businesses) may be one of them. And we have to think about whether there are actions we can take which will have better consequences.
It's just too easy to blame Amazon only. It's a cop-out. Amazon flutters its come-hither prices at us and gets us drunk with its seductive service. But we do not have to be seduced.
Nicola Morgan blogs and speaks about writing, reading, publishing, the reading brain, teenage brain, learning brain, and shoes. She also has an online shop which sells signed (only) books and exclusive tea-towels. She offers excellent customer service and pays her taxes scrupulously. www.nicolamorgan.com