Thanks to Sigrid who wrote this on her last day in The Open Book. We wish her well on wherever she ends up next on her travels!
Today is my last day in the bookshop. From Monday on, there’ll be no doorbell ringing, announcing customers. No piles of books to read at random, no more story-telling events to organise. This was my (probably) once in a lifetime bookshop owner experience.
I can cross it out on my bucket list now. Because yes, I have to admit, I’m not that courageous to start a bookshop on my own. Working among books is the best there is, but it’s not easy to make a living out of it. Especially in rural Wigtown, in quiet wintertime, running a bookshop seems to be a challenge (helloooo booklovers where are you?).
But everywhere bookshops struggle to survive. The 21st Century stands for less readers, more digital books and more online sales. Web shops drive many bookshop owner mad: ‘You don't have it in stock? Don't bother I order it at Amazon.com’. Aaah..! A little longer and bookshops might become exotic species in a digital world.
Baywatch in winter
Sorry for sharing these black thoughts. But what do you think? Is it just a seasonal issue? Should you run a bookshop only during more busy summer months (and find yourself a nice Baywatch job in Australia in winter ;-))? Or do bookshops need a new concept? Successful shops seem to be flexible and diverse. They sell digital books, deliver books for free, function as tourist attractions or cultural meeting places and combine books with cake and cappuccino.
So is creative enterprising the solution? Do bookshops need open fires in the winter, plain food, generous seating, a children’s room, a cybercafé, free wi-fi, etc.? And some good books J? Do let us know if you have an opinion about this, or a brilliant (or a bit less than brilliant) idea.
Bye now; time to give up my place to the next: the bookshop band; enjoy!