Some posters in a bookshop window caught my eye earlier today as I waited for Mo Cushla to run an errand in our town centre. They read ‘50% off all books’. It wasn’t until I got close to the bookshop that I realised they also read ‘Closing down today’. I was a bit taken aback as I hadn’t realised this independent book store was planning to close down.
I wandered in and noticed that about 75% of the shelves were empty. There were just a few hundred books dotted around the whole store. I browsed the ‘Diet’ section as I had a particular book in mind but it wasn’t there. I was about to check out another section of the store when I heard the boys’ voices; they’d come looking for me with their dad. So I left the store with them.
A few minutes later in the car, Mo Cushla asked why I was looking so sad. Until he said it, I wasn’t even aware that I was looking sad. He then laughed and teased me that I was sad because a bookshop was closing down.
I didn’t get a chance to ask any of the staff the reason why the store was closing as I was in there only for a very short while and they were really busy attending to the customers who’d come in to take advantage of the discounts. So I asked my trusted friend, Google. I found a very short article in the local paper stating that the store is closing as it is going into liquidation.
I am sad about all the businesses shutting down daily. I am sad for the countless business owners who’ve had to close their doors to customers and shut down their businesses as a result of the recession. I can’t imagine how gut-wrenching this must be for them, seeing their many hours of toil and sweat going down the drain. My heart goes out to them. I am sad for the many individuals who will be out of work and out-of-pocket as they lose their sources of income.
I don’t know the statistics of businesses going into administration but one doesn’t need a degree in economics to notice the many closing down signs in shop windows, the empty and boarded up shops on the high streets and the news of all the organisations going into administration.
I am doubly sad that this time it’s a bookshop closing. I love reading and I spend hours in bookshops just browsing. My day is made just walking into a bookshop even if I don’t actually end up buying any books.There’s just something about seeing row after row of paper and hardbacks nicely laid out that makes me very happy.
Admittedly I can’t remember when last I bought a book from a store. I tend to buy them from the online bookstore, Amazon.co.uk as they are a lot cheaper. I guess people’s shopping habits have changed a lot since the advent of online stores and this has inadvertently affected the high street stores. Also with the technological advancement of e-readers like Kindle, people are buying fewer books.
Much as I prefer to actually feel the paper and smell the ink, I can totally understand why a lot of people are migrating to using e-readers. The devices can hold several books (I’m not sure exactly how many) and you have instant access to these and any new books you wish to download subject to internet connectivity. Whereas I have several tomes sitting in cardboard boxes in the cupboard under the stairs as we have no room to put up shelves to house my books, this would not be a problem if I had all those volumes on an e-reader.
Hopefully the closure of bookshops does not portend a decline in the purchase of books but rather the beginning of a new and different way of doing it. As difficult as change can be, it isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. As we embrace this change, let’s hope we are all the better for it.
I’ll end this post with the famous ‘serenity prayer’, attributed to the theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr;
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Thanks for stopping by and tara for now.