One Bookshop per Village, Town and City?

Does each village, town and city have at least one bookshop?

Simple answer there are around 3,232 villages, towns and cities in the UK.

There are at the last count 1,878 bookshops. So the short answer is no.

In 2005 there were around 4000 bookshops in the UK's high streets.

Four hundred bookshops closed in 2012.

Short answer. Throw away your kindle and stop buying off Amazon.

Any thoughts?


Have a Kindle - but still enjoy reading "real" books! I do try not to buy them from Amazon though - not always successfully! The prices (in general) are SO much better! I also try to avoid buying books from Tesco - don't always succeed there either!

The combo of great prices and sheer convenience is almost unbeatable - even though ethically I have huge issues with them - economically they are hard to ignore! Would love to see small shops surviving - and acknowledge the spiral that Brian mentions! Also agree that NOTHING beats browsing before buying a book ... that Amazon can't compete with, even though they now have the "Look inside" option on some books!

Kindle SO convenient though - all those books contained in that small space - perfect!! :-)

I'm speaking as a nomad and I might feel differently about the kindle if I was still living in an English speaking country. I found this article about the state of book sales in the US interesting.

I'd never throw away my kindle! As a book lover I did hesitate a while before breaking down and buying one though. Without the kindle I either had to read bad French translations of English writers or go on a treasure hunt at the local FNAC or Cultura both of which stock only English best sellers or classics. There are still certain types of books that cannot be replaced by an e reader and I'm not convinced that bookshops are going to disappear.

It is quite problematic conceptually. Where I first lived in Cambridgeshire, the village had: three small supermarkets, two general stores, a chippie, a Chinese takeaway, a part-time bank, a building society/saving bank, two newsagents, a wool and needlecraft shop, a bookshop, six pubs, a post office, a small zoo and a vineyard that has a summer café and wine shop. I have probably forgotten something. Today there is a newsagent, a pizza takeaway, one pub, the zoo and vineyard. I used to use a couple of the places out of loyalty after I moved to a smaller village but as they disappeared, so did I. I went there to visit friends, there was no longer anywhere to shop. I looked at the village website and the High Street guide before answering the question.

I believe that your question has a parallel in there, the wool and needlecraft shop. A quick web search shows that knitting has declined quite a lot, but other things like needlepoint have even more sharply declined. Bookshops, as I knew them locally, were W.H. Smith in each of two towns, one of which offered a very basic, poor choice anyway and one very big bookshop in the city. There were umpteen antiquarian and specialist shops too, many of which appear to have survived, but even the big shop and its several specialised branches that sprung up over the years is gradually going back under less roofs.

Amazon offers prices people can afford better, the books and other goods are delivered to their door, often free of post and packing so no travel costs involved going out to buy. The offer is immense compared to the limits the old village and small town shops offered and also the old issue about waiting a couple of weeks or even months before something ordered through a small shop arrived has been done away with. I cannot imagine the profits on books really sustain a business any longer, given overheads and the likelihood that it may well require 'owner' and 'a.n. other' who may well be employed to consistently run a shop.

It is a very sad passing, I miss a good browse anywhere, but I am not sure too many people would boycott Amazon and the uptake on Kindle and its like suggests hardship for at least fiction publishers of books on paper in the future. It is all regrettable but the bookshops are going the way of the inventory of village shops I began with because of a particular kind of marketplace they cannot compete in.