Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
‘Independent bookshops have vital role to play’
9:10am Thursday 20th September 2012 in News
THE decline in independent bookshops is threatening the UK’s cultural heritage, according to an Oxford retail expert.
Jonathan Reynolds, academic director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management at the Said Business School, spelled out some of the challenges facing independent booksellers at the 2012 conference of The Booksellers Association this week. Among them were the rise in electronic books, downloaded to electronic book readers like Kindles. Speaking at the conference on Monday at Warwick University, Mr Reynolds said: “The best bookshops have become distinctive, quirky places, worth travelling to, worth experiencing.
“We have to recognise that part of the cultural heritage at the heart of our communities is at stake.”
Mr Reynolds particularly praised a local bookshop in his presentation.
He said: “The Woodstock Bookshop in Oxfordshire reaches out to support local events including poetry and literature festivals, and talks in nearby villages.
“Our research shows that independent retailers of all kinds can play an important role in sustaining a sense of community and that their role as a social hub is recognised and welcomed by the public.”
Merle Esson, one of four staff members at the Woodstock Bookshop in Oxford Street, Woodstock, said: “I think there’s still a strong market for people who want to buy real books as opposed to e-books.”