The Rise And Fall Of A Secondhand Bookshop

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  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 3,908MI6 Agent

    Happy to see there are some secondhand bookshops still in your area, Silhouette Man. I always enjoy going into some when I return to England to visit family and friends, but there always seems to be less and less every time ☹️

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,615MI6 Agent
    edited May 24

    Yes, they are a big part of the lifeblood of the cultural future of our towns and cities so long may they continue. That said, I'm afraid several good secondhand bookshops or charity shops that sell books in my local area have closed over the last decade. That regrettably includes a very good secondhand bookshop in my nearest town which sadly closed down in September 2014. It was my first experience with a secondhand bookshop as a child and I regularly visited it and bought books from it right up until its closure. The owner blamed its eventual closure on a grocery shop in the same town which had a big charity table of secondhand books for sale at around 20p - 50p each. It raised tens of thousands of pounds for the charity involved but obviously the bookshop owner couldn't compete with those sorts of charity prices and still make a profit so he was eventually forced to close. I'm sure there were other factors at play too but that was certainly one of them that led to him hastening his retirement.

    I was later told by another bookseller who knew him that he had still a wry sense of humour about his competitor in the book world as he had an imitation tin of Heinz Baked Beans on his shelves placed along with his books. I remember seeing the bean can on the shelves myself but never thought anything of it (as there were other odds and ends on the shelves too) until the other bookseller told me about what it meant. If they were going to start to sell books he would start to "sell" groceries! You could call it a kind of visual representation of Stewart Lee's joke recounted above about the inappropriateness of supermarkets or grocery stores selling books and undercutting independent booksellers and ultimately putting them out of business.

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,615MI6 Agent
    edited June 2

    Here's an interesting article from the Guardian on a scheme to benefit authors by means of secondhand sales of their books as well as the primary sales when their books are new. I thought this quote from the article was especially interesting:

    Previously, authors could only receive royalties on sales of new books, but the growth of the used book market, which is predicted to be worth £563m in the UK by 2025, had seen calls for a new approach to writer remuneration.

    So who's to say the secondhand book market in the UK is dead yet with those type of projected figures? Of course that's presumably counting online sales as well but it's evidently a service people still want so bricks and mortar secondhand bookshops should hopefully benefit too.

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/books/2021/jun/01/authors-to-earn-royalties-on-secondhand-books-for-first-time

    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
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