I always find it so confusing when people walk into a bookshop and are surprised at the fact that they still exist. It also saddens me a lot to hear such things but I’m trying to move forward from this and not get bogged down in the state of the world today.
Because the fact of the matter is… bookshops aren’t dead.
That’s right kids, even in the age of technology bookshops are still alive and well and most are actually thriving. For example, 2017 marked a momentous occasion to support this very argument, as it was the first time since the introduction of Kindle and the ebook, that physical books outsold e-books.
They have continued to do so. How, you ask? (We will get to the why part a little later).
The secret to the success of any bricks and mortar bookshop is an online presence. Platforms like Instagram are made for books and booksellers, and you only need to scroll through the various book-related hashtags to see why.
2019 is all about aesthetics after all and nothing says aesthetic like an amazing stack of books. Instagram has also provided bibliophiles with a way to connect with one another, without actually having to meet face to face.
It’s also provided indie bookstores with a place to run flash sales and connect with a much wider and broader community. Speaking of sales, Abebooks works wonders for any books seller and collector. After a first edition? After a signed first edition? Thanks to Abebooks you can source it from a tiny bookshop, in the middle of nowhere and support a local independent.
The why though, is what really matters.
Bookshops and bookstores aren’t dead because people are still reading. The people who say that bookshops are dead obviously aren’t reading. But perhaps they are the ones who should be reading. Also in 2019, people are gravitating back towards tangible objects. We love filling our homes with things we can love, hold and cherish. Books fill that gap in our lives and in our homes.
So, to the people who think that the bookshop and the culture of buying books are dead, you’re the ones who need them the most. You’re the select few, the minority and not the majority, and perhaps it would do you some good to sit down and read.
To hold, smell, and feel a book in your hands and realise and remember the true wonder of the written word.
Laura Kebby is a co-manager of Secret Book Stuff