DISCUSSION: Supporting Bookshops

At the start of January, I put a request out on Twitter asking for people to write a short paragraph for me on a certain subject. That subject was supporting bookshops and I knew that I just couldn’t write this post on my own. I would just like to thank all the people who volunteered, even if they couldn’t or didn’t write something. Your support means so much to me.
My thoughts: 
I have always felt at home in bookshops. Even when I was younger, I spent a lot of time browsing the shelves and so I feel very strongly about supporting bookshops. 
It’s not often that I buy online anymore. I prefer to go into my local Waterstones branch where I know I’ll get good service and be able to keep one of my favourite shops in business. 
To help, I will now be adding links to the Waterstones website to my reviews, instead of Amazon, as most people choose to link to. 
I have recently started going to my local book club, run by Waterstones, which enables avid readers like myself to have fun at the same time as buying books from a shop that really needs supporting customers. 
When I walk into a bookshop and see other people there, I feel a great joy in seeing that other people do care about reading and, when seeing younger children, I feel even better. It’s nice to know that children will be brought up reading and enjoying it because I know how it has helped me. 
Rebecca from Rebecca-Books:

Being a bookseller at the English bookshop chain, Waterstones, I may have a slight bias view on this discussion. However, I do remember the appeal of finding the book I desperately wanted at the cheapest price possible, normally going straight to Amazon for my books. Without sounding preachy, working in a bookshop has, I guess, opened my eyes to the world of publishing and bookselling that is fighting so much against the likes of Amazon, supermarkets and WH Smiths. The thing about your local bookshop is that is relies solely on the community, especially one run independently. Amazon has a worldwide platform when a bookshop in your local town does not. Sure, you could say companies such as Waterstones in the UK and Barnes and Noble in America are nationwide, but they still rely on the English/American community to enter their bookshops, buy their books and help them keep providing these same great books directly to you. I’m pretty sure people will miss a bookshop on the high street if they do go. For those in the UK, the sole DVD and CD seller on the high street, HMV has recently gone into administration (essentially, gone out of business) and the shocking reality is that only three years ago, Waterstones – a shop in nearly every town and city throughout the UK that has been around for so many years – was owned by HMV. Can you remember a time when online retailers were the only ways to buy THAT book you desperate want? No, neither can I. Books have been around for such a long, long time, let bookshops be too.

Alice from Crazy Red Pen

Many people make the case for shopping at independent bookstores, which is a way to support the local economy, and I like to include myself in this group. Personally, I like independent bookstores over Barnes and Noble (American chain bookstore) since independent bookstores are less formal and there’s a more “human” feel to it. In general though, it’s good to go to a bookstore (any type is fine) to support your local economy and get to know others.
For people who like Amazon/online shopping, it’s great if you could supplement your Amazon shopping with bookstore shopping. At times, bookstores can have better sales. Plus, bookstores always have cool author events!

Second to the library, bookshops are like paradise. They have a unique feel to them where you can fangirl and gush about how awesome this one book is (except there’s always more than one) face to face with someone who won’t judge you. It’s like the comic book shop for Marvel fans…without the costumes…
Building a friendship with the bookshop owner is so special because as they get to know the books you pick out, they can suggest others that you might never have picked up! If we don’t support our local bookshops we’ll lose out on future favourites and a vital part of our bookish community. Bookshop owners are literally living their dream and getting paid to do it by us, the humble customer and unlike Amazon or TBD, they genuinely appreciate every single visit, whether we buy or not.

Thank you Rebecca, Alice and Rebekah!
What are your opinions on this subject?

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  • Reply
    Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
    19 February, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Great post, Lucy, Rebecca, Alice and Rebekah! I really enjoyed reading it and agree with all of you.

    Sadly I have to buy my books online because we literally have no shops in my town and the closest Waterstones is miles away. I remember when I was little, there was an independent book shop next door to me and I loved going in there – all you could smell was books, and the owner was lovely – but then it closed down because not enough people were buying from there. 🙁

    It’s very important to buy from bookshops if you can though!

    • Reply
      19 February, 2013 at 10:18 am

      It’s understandable if you have no other way. BUT, you can buy books from Waterstones website directly and they get normally sent straight to your door with free delivery which is good if you’re not near a bookshop and don’t want to use Amazon.
      Before I worked at Waterstones and bought books online, the prices between Waterstones online and Amazon are quite competitive with only a few pence difference 🙂

    • Reply
      Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
      19 February, 2013 at 10:35 am

      I’m going to start ordering from Waterstones instead of Amazon. 🙂

  • Reply
    Rebekah Campbell
    19 February, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Wow I never knew that about HMV owning Waterstones :O
    Great post, Lucy and thanks for having me! 🙂

  • Reply
    19 February, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Thank you again Lucy for letting me contribute!
    And I’m so glad you did a post about this, it’s something that means an awful lot to me.

  • Reply
    Zoe Crook
    19 February, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Amazing post! It is a shame that I didn’t see your tweet as I love bookshops so much. It is really sad to think that more and more are closing down. With Amazon and e-books etc, physical books could become less popular. 🙁

    I agree with everything you guys said on this post. I love going to bookshops and searching for my favourite books. The feeling is heaven and seeing other people act the same is really great. Also, my dream is to become an author and – in my opinion – I’d rather see my book on a shelf than on a website. 😛

    Thanks for posting, Lucy! 🙂

  • Reply
    19 February, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you Lucy for letting me contribute! Supporting local book stores is something that means a lot to me.

  • Reply
    Sharrice Hewlett
    19 February, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Great post! No bookshops out here but when I am near one that’s usually where I go. I don’t like that some of the local bookshops near me price books nearly 3x higher than they should be but then I just go to different ones thanks for the great post!

  • Reply
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