The Big Green Bookshop is closing down its physical premises as owner Simon Key moves the business to online only, with "absolute monster" rates and rents forcing him to shut the bricks and mortar shop.
After 10 years at the Wood Green, London premises, Key and co-founder Tim West say The Big Green Bookshop will shut its doors on Thursday 31st January and will continue online.
Key said: "I've absolutely loved it here in Wood Green. We have the very best customers, who have supported the bookshop every day, from the very moment we opened over ten years ago. These have been the most rewarding years of my working life, but sometimes things have to change. So it's time for an exciting new adventure for us. My family and I are moving out of London and starting a new version of The Big Green Bookshop."
Speaking to The Bookseller, Key said the "time was right" for the shop to go online. He said: "The shop is doing great, it's doing fantastic but we can't afford to live in London anymore really. We haven't had a pay rise since we opened the shop. As a family we need more space and I need to think of my family."
Key, his girlfriend Katie and their two children, aged eight and 10, will move to East Sussex this month with the new bookshop site to go live in a few weeks. "The shop's been doing OK but rent and rates are an absolute monster. Katie and I have often talked about moving to the seaside and now that our kids are getting older, it seems like the perfect time," said Key. "Rents and rates are the two biggest outgoings and it's going to be really nice not having to pay £10,000 a year rates."
The shop will continue to trade until the end of the month with work ongoing to create a new website. Key said: "More and more of our sales are coming from online. We've had the website since we first opened but rather than bookselling it was more for events and publicity, but it got to a point where I would get messages every day from people saying they couldn't find the book they wanted on our site. It's bittersweet to close the shop but it's really exciting and is a new challenge at a perfect time."
Customers have been told they can still buy books from the bookshop which can be posted out directly rather than having them delivered to the bricks and mortar shop first.
The Bookshop's #BuyAStrangerABook will happen every Wednesday from 9th January and initiatves such as supporting Shelter and buying books for the Calais Jungle will continue - this will be a big part of the online bookshop. Key added he is working with local venues to continue to put on events in Wood Green.
Earlier this year Key proposed an indie booksellers alliance to negotiate a better discount on books to compete with the bigger chains and retailers.