February 25, 2013

73 UK bookstores closed in 2012

The Booksellers Association in the UK released its latest membership figures for the year 2012 with the following results. In 2012, among BA membership:
  • 73 bookshops closed
  • 39 bookshops opened
  • 1,028 independent bookshop members
  • 3,580 bookshop members in total

Tim Godfray, CEO, The Booksellers Association, noted, “Closures are always painful and we were saddened to see many bookshops closing last year. The balance of risk in bookselling has changed for good and now sits disproportionately with the bookseller. We are committed to helping booksellers work closely with publishers to explore new business models to ensure that bookshops continue to have a lively presence on our high streets. Bookshops are important community and cultural hubs, which also provide an important educational resource for all.”

In the UK, libraries have been closing all over the country. Now we are losing our high street bookshops too. Soon the future of reading will be almost entirely online. Is this a good thing? Is it an opportunity for Indie and self publishers? Will we just look back nostalgically, or will we regret their demise? There are interesting times ahead.


  1. At York Bookbinding we have had many people who come to use to use our services. From theses binding to family bible restoration any many variables besides. We often have conversations about the written word. From all ages, the majority see the positive future for e books, but all love to hold a "real" book, saying, they will always want to hold a book. We are naturally a tactile being.

  2. I couldn't agree more Philip. eBooks may be the future, but proper books will never die! They may well end up being sold only from online stores though!

  3. It's sad to see the demise of book shops but like much of our high street stores, they are up against high rates and rents. Whilst on line companies have lower overheads and esp if your Amazon, don't even pay the correct tax!

    I agree that online digital books still have a lot to beat against a real paperback in your hand! Call me the 'touchy feely type' but once you get into a book and know its layout it becomes a familiar friend.

    I still have books on my shelves from many years ago, all thumbed,marked and battered. However I could never part with them. I was brought up with these books in my child hood. They are part of my life and depth. To loose them would be too much.
    ebooks are the future if your an avid reader who reads non stop. But for me paperbacks will always be best!

  4. I have to agree Brian. I can still remember getting my first book as a child. It will be a shame if future generations don't get to experience that excitement of owning books that you can pick up and feel. Sadly though, I think that's just our nostalgia and they won't really care much!

  5. I think there will always be bookshops out there to walk into. Online stores are taking up some of the ground yes; but you will always have those after the ambiance and appeal of walking through a bookshop (buying or not), browsing the shelves and in most cases leaving with books they didn't even know existed. I know e-books have their place and as i mentioned elsewhere, if ebooks make it easier for people to read books that otherwise they couldn't or wouldn't, then that has to be a good thing. I know people who have purchased books as digital versions and loved them so much they went and bought the paper version to place on the shelf or even searched for the rare 1st edition as a collectible. But in the end, i think there are to many book lovers to allow the complete end to walk in bookshops as we know them, maybe less of them, but not all gone.

    1. I do sincerely hope that you're right Booksforever. You may be interested to know that Barefoot Books in the USA are now refusing to sell their list via Amazon, and Stephen King's latest release will only be a paper book!

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