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Independent bookshops still play 'crucial' part in community says, Beckenham Bookshop owner

PUBLISHED: 13:11 30 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 July 2017

Beckenham Bookshop

Beckenham Bookshop

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Kelly Bradford believes public issues have created reasons for people to invest in paperbacks

Online retailers and e-books tend to be cheaper than paperbacksOnline retailers and e-books tend to be cheaper than paperbacks

Paperback books sales are increasing again, despite competition from online retailers, claims a Beckenham bookshop owner.

Kelly Bradford, owner of The Beckenham Bookshop which has been running since 1974, made the statement during Independent Bookshop Week, an annual campaign celebrated by independent traders, which highlights the part bookshops play in their communities.

She said: “Of course, e-book sales and online retailers like Amazon are daunting but we’ve found that public issues such as Brexit have opened up gateways meaning more people are coming in to buy paperbacks about Europe, or history and the countryside. Statistics recently have shown that sales of paperbacks are increasing, and I believe this, as well as the revamp of novel artwork, such as F.Scott Fitzgerald’s collection, are why.

“We don’t find we have too much competition directly but there is some places like Waterstones, supermarkets and even charity shops which are lined with paperbacks. We’re very lucky to have great customers who understand that we provide a great service that a lot of bigger retailers can’t - like customer ordering for the next day.

“We play a crucial part within the high street community because what we offer is unique and customised to the buyer.”

A spokesperson from Midas Public Relations, who runs the campaign on behalf of The Booksellers Association, said: “A bookseller can advise and recommend books based on the public’s interest and there is also the notion of visual merchandising in bookshops who market their books in an eye-catching way. This might inspire people to pick up a book they might not necessarily have seen or heard about before.

“E-book sales have decreased by four per cent this year, and beautiful book jackets designs are a main reason why print sales have increased by seven per cent, so nothing beats browing through a selection of stunning books.”

They also state that the social environment independent bookshops offer is another reason why they continue to survive.

“They have a social element. Many have increased their footfall by selling coffee and cakes, which again makes for a more social experience than browsing on Amazon. The events that indie bookshops put on are also another reason to support them as they are a place where the public can listen to vibrant literary discussions.”

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