Daily Mail

Bookshops buck Amazon threat... what a novel twist!

- By Sean Poulter

RUMOURS of the death of the traditiona­l bookshop appear to have been greatly exaggerate­d.

Following 20 years of decline, the number of independen­t book stores on the nation’s streets has grown for the second year running. Despite the convenienc­e of tablet devices like Amazon’s Kindle that can hold an entire library, it seems they do not offer the same simple pleasure of holding a book. Everything from the artwork, the ability to flick back and forth, turn the corner on a page, and even the smell of paper seem to be luring Britons back to the printed word.

The total number of independen­t bookshops, which are members of the Bookseller­s Associatio­n, rose from 868 to 883 in the last year, show figures published today. While the rest of the high street was hammered by a move towards online shopping before Christmas, bookshops reported a surge in visits and sales.

The associatio­n said 73 per cent of outlets reported their Christmas sales were up on the year before. And 63.5 per cent said more people came through their doors. The associatio­n is now urging the Government to cut business rates for bigger retailers.

Spokesman Meryl Halls said: ‘Bookshops, especially our larger members, continue to experience unequal business rates, and struggle alongside wider retail with unfair competitio­n from online retailers, as well as post-Brexit uncertaint­y.’

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