Bestselling author Irvine Welsh has urged bookshops to evolve into “cultural cafés” to survive.
Speaking to The Bookseller ahead of a tour of UK and Irish bookshops to promote his latest novel, A Decent Ride (Jonathan Cape), Welsh said: “The state of affairs of bookshops [in the US] is as it is in the UK: a lot of independents here are struggling over the rise of e-books.
“But I think it is interesting that with the collapse of Borders and with Barnes & Noble’s difficulties, a lot of regional book stores have become stronger because they have become cultural cafés. The collapse of the big chains has given them the opportunity to survive as niche, cool, cultural spaces. It is important that bookshops do become that because if a town loses a bookshop it loses part of itself.”
He added: “When a town doesn’t have a book store it is like something is missing and unfortunately fewer and fewer have them. But I am optimistic because I think if bookshops can play the long game, consumers will go back to analogue, and bookshops can become cultural hubs.”