The number of bookshops in Britain has halved in the past six years and nearly 600 towns have none at all.
Internet sales of books have been the main culprit in the demise of the bookstores, but increasingly it is the roaring pace of electronic publishing that is becoming the last straw for many outlets. In the past I’ve written about using my local Waterstones bookshop as a browsing library. Anything I see in there and want to buy is downloaded to my iPhone (and Kindle eco-system) in seconds. Invariably I make a big saving.
Traditional specialist bookstores will remain, such as the wonderful Marks & Co, forever preserved in Helene Hanff’s 1970 book (later play and movie), 84 Charing Cross Road. Over 2,000 UK book shops have been forced out of business in the past six years and the high street chains are now doomed. The demise will be sooner rather than later.