Saltaire Bookshop will close in six months unless local customers rally to support it, its owner has said.
The independent, based in the World Heritage site of Saltaire in West Yorkshire, tweeted last week: “Six month countdown begins today - unless we start getting more customers x.”
Owner David Ford told The Bookseller takings had averaged out at £2 a day which was “unviable.”
He said even though he “loved” bookselling, “I would earn more money sitting on the street with a cap in my hand.”
“It looks like I will have to close unless something changes dramatically. I think I have worked very hard to make a go of it. I do a lot on Twitter, I have children’s reading groups and author events, but the business is not viable. There is only so long one can dwindle along on far less than the minimum wage.”
Ford said that while competition for books from online retailers and the rise of digital reading was a particular issue for bookshops, there was a wider problem of people not supporting their local high streets.
“I am laying down a gauntlet challenge and saying ‘this is what will happen to your shops if you don’t support them’. I hope it won't come to that, but it will unless something changes. It is not just my bookshop, it is all local shops. I have someone come into my shop over the weekend and say ‘what can I do? Can I sign a petition?’ But there is only one thing that can help local shops – and that’s if the local people shop in them.”
Saltaire Bookshop hit the national press headlines last year after launching a plea for customers on Facebook after taking just £7.50 in one day and was met with a rush of custom in response.