High street loses two independent bookshops a week

<p>Independent numbers dwindled last year with almost two shops closing a week and Booksellers Association figures revealing the biggest net closure since 2004. During a tough trading year in 2009, 102 indies closed and just 40 opened, meaning there are 62 fewer indie bookshops than there were in 2008. The figures include those who have joined the BA for the first time and those who have cancelled their membership. According to the BA, there were 1,289 indies at the end of 2009. </p><p>Meryl Halls, head of membership services at the BA, said: &quot;There is no doubt that we are living in an incredibly tough economic climate from which no bookselling sector is immune.&quot; Halls said the BA has &quot;a huge variety of initiatives and programmes in place to assist the independent sector&quot;. These include the Independent Booksellers&#39; Forum, Independent Booksellers&#39; Week and the introduction of the IndieBound marketing initiative.</p><p>Halls added: &quot;There is wonderful evidence of good practice among so many independent booksellers&mdash;those booksellers who work so hard to be successful generally stand out from the crowd&quot;.</p><p>Nick Bubb, retail analyst at Arden Partners, predicted another tough year for independents. &quot;It is a trend that is hard to stop, every year Amazon and Play.com get bigger and better at books.&quot; Bubb added supermarkets&#39; book range would also affect independents and he believed shops would continue to close. Bubb said indies would have to &quot;promote hard [and] generate loyalty&quot; in order to survive.</p><p>But some indies suggested the BA was not doing enough to protect the sector, which could also affect membership. The BA declined to give figures for those who had left the organisation rather than closed down.</p><p>Dinah Anderson, owner of Bookshrop in Shropshire, said she would be &quot;seriously&quot; reviewing her BA membership this year. &quot;We&#39;re being depleted, being attacked from all sides and now with the Book Tokens that was the last thing we had left that was ours.&quot; She added that indies would not survive unless they got some &quot;explicit support&quot;.</p><p>During 2009, closures have included Crockatt &amp; Powell in Waterloo, south London, Lost in Fiction in Edinburgh and crime indie Murder One in central London, which shut last January after 21 years. It has been a tough beginning for the sector in 2010, with the closure of Books at Hertford in Hertfordshire imminent.</p><p><strong>Indie openings and closings</strong></p>2004 66 opened, 63 closed<br />2005 79 opened, 58 closed<br />2006 64 opened, 96 closed<br />2007 81 opened, 72 closed<br />2008 66 opened, 83 closed<br />2009 40 opened, 102 closed<p>&nbsp;</p>