Thursday, 10 April 2008

Indy bookseller soon to be no more

I've just found out that the excellent Metropolitan Books in Exmouth Market, London is sadly closing down. I'm not sure why owner Phil Griffiths has decided to shut up shop after ten years of business, but it's going to be a real loss for the readers who live or work around Exmouth Market (it's the nearest bookshop to my office, so shall have to head further afield to get my bookshop browsing fix now). This small bookshop always felt more like a front room in someone's house, so much cosier than the big bookshop chains.

Metropolitan Books will be selling off its stock at a 50% discount this Saturday 12 April. Unfortunately, I'm going to be back in Ireland as otherwise I'd be there.

I think independent bookshops are important to give a diversity of choice, and that's why I'll go out of my way to support them. Publishers pay such huge amounts to the big chains as marketing spend, ensuring that their "big" books are featured in 3 for 2 and BOGOF promotions or get window displays. I personally trust a recommendation from an independent bookseller, who loves books and understand his or her customers' needs, far more than from a chain bookseller who is promoting a book because they've been paid thousands to do so...

A very handy website for this is Local Bookshops Online. It allows you to search very easily for your nearest independent bookshop, via postcode or by the map.

9 comments:

Andi said...

I'm very sorry to hear about this independent going out of business. It's a terrible loss every time one goes under or simply decides to close up shop.

Logophile said...

Andi, I agree.

monix said...

I just followed your link to the map and found there isn't an independent bookshop within 100 miles of where I live. When we moved here 20 years ago there were two in our nearest town and many more just a short drive away. The personal touch, shared love and knowledge of books and the variety have been lost; all the big chain bookstores look the same.

Logophile said...

M, I'm so sad to hear about the dearth of indies in your neck of the woods - the optimist in me is hoping it's because the shops just aren't listed but the realist fears that it really is because there are none within 100 miles of you...

Mark Thwaite said...

Happily, according to the Bookseller magazine ( http://tinyurl.com/5kw54u ) things seem to be looking up for indy bookshops ...

What one hopes is that more of them learn to augment their own strengths with some of the obvious advantages of the bigger High Street chains ...

Oh, I've added you to the http://www.BritLitBlogs.com aggregator too!

Logophile said...

Mark, thanks v much for this link - heartening news. I think it's true indy bookshops have a flexibility and ability to innovate that is at times lacking in the chain sector.

And also thanks for adding me to the BritLitBlogs aggregator! I've added the widget to my sidebar :-)

Preeta Samarasan said...

Great spiel about independent booksellers; I'm glad you're speaking out on this important issue, and also very glad to hear from Mark Thwaite's link that the situation may be improving.

I've got a website now, as you can see (did I already tell you this? If so, please forgive me), and it includes my own two cents about independent booksellers, which I hope will help to convince some of my readers to support them.

Stephen said...

When my local bookshop closed, it was the feeling that I had lost a friend that seemed to hurt most.

Norfolk is still quite well off for indies despite their paucity on the website you link to, so perhaps things won't be too bad for Monix after all.

I find that I get most of my recommendations for new books off the 'net these days, and that has probably opened me up to a wider range of books than a traditional bookseller could ever manage. There's nothing quite like actually handling a book to persuade me to part with money though.

It's secondhand bookshops that do it for me time and again, and we have some really fantastic ones I'm pleased to say.

Logophile said...

Preeta, you did indeed share the link to your new site and I hope you don't mind but I've added it to my side bar!

Stephen, I also love second hand bookshops. And now that I've discovered BookMooch.com it's like discovering a second hand on the net!