Four independent bookshops are closing their bricks and mortar stores after nearly 200 years in business collectively.
The Ian Allan Bookshop in Cardiff’s Royal Arcade is set to close at the end of this week after nearly 130 years of a bookshop in business on that site, including a Blackwell’s which vacated in 2002. For the last 12 years, it has been occupied by Ian Allan Bookshop, which sold specialist transport and military history titles.
“It has not been an easy decision and we will leave Cardiff with a heavy heart,” Ian Allan m.d Nick Lerwill told Walesonline.
"It is purely for commercial reasons that we are leaving. The lease has expired and we have been unable to find an alternative premises that is commercially viable. As a consequence, we have had to take the sad decision to close.”
Dartmoor Bookshop in Ashburton is also shutting its doors for the last time because owners Brenda Greysmith and Andy Collins are set to retire. The pair have run the bookshop since 2006, but the shop was originally established 43 years ago and has changed hands several times over its four decades.
Greysmith told the Torquay Herald Express that she had failed to find anyone else to take over the business. “We are joining the unfortunately ever-growing number of such shops (bookshops) which have closed in the past few years,” she said, adding: “It’s been fun. We’ve had some wonderful books pass through our hands and met some wonderful people over the years but its time to go now.”
The Dartmoor lease ends at the end of February and the shop is holding an “everything must go” sale of half price or less until then.
Milngavie Bookshop in Glasgow is also set to close after 11 years of business in the town. Owner Susan Frize blamed the rise of online bookselling and advent of e-books for her recent downturn in business, but also said she wanted to retire to spend some more time with her grandchildren. “I’ve had a good innings, so shouldn’t complain. I have some great memories,” she told the Milngavie Herald.
Meanwhile the Angel Bookshop in Cambridge has told customers it has made the decision to close its bricks and mortar operation to sell online-only after five years.
Owner David Lambourne said: “It is with great regret that we announce the closure of the Angel Bookshop in February 2015. We currently hope to retain an internet presence and continue trading online… We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all our customers over the last five years.”
The shop is selling all its shop fittings including the counter, till, CD player, amplifier and speakers, CCTV system, slat wall panels, acrylics, extending table, and all shelves are for sale, to be collected in March.
News of the closures comes almost a year after official figures showed the number of independent bookshops had fallen to below 1,000 for the first time since records began.
However, the net decline was lower than in the three preceding years.
Publishers, authors and booksellers have thrown their weight behind campaigns such as Books Are My Bag to impress on readers the joys of shopping at physical bookshops on the high street in a bid to stem the decline and increase support for local bookshops.