A Rock and a Hard Place: Supporting Local Book Stores

Please note: I wrote this last summer. A follow up post will be coming soon as opinions have changed. Keep an eye out for that.

Being a book blogger I buy quite a few books a year. At least 50. However it is becoming more and more common for me to buy books at charity shops, car boot sales and The Works (A UK discount book store). This maybe good for me, my bookshelves and my pennies (or lack of) but it is not very positive for my local book stores which are Waterstones and WHSmith.

I read an article recently which said that paperback sales have dropped by 25% in the last year. This saddened and shocked me in equal measure. I have grown up with books and knowing that the industry is slowly dying is awful.

I will be starting university soon which means I will have to buy to many books whether that be text books or required reading. The fact of the matter is that I won’t be able to buy most of them the book store. They will be far too expensive, so I will have to buy them online.

When it comes to the industry, I am one of those many people who want to have their cake and eat it. I want to read ebooks, I want to be able to buy cheap books online and I want to be able to go in to my local book store as and when I have enough money at the time. The thing is, these three wants will not be able co-exist. One will have to go sooner or later and by the looks of the growth of e-commerce giants such as Amazon and The Book Depository, the local book store is the one which is most likely to go first. It’s not like books won’t exist any more. Ebooks are doing wonders for the publishing industry, however there is some beautiful about the printed word and I will miss when it goes.

On a side note, this year I am aiming to read at least one local book store bought book a month. I know it isn’t much but it’s my bit. I love walking in to a book store an not knowing what I will come out with.

What do you guys think about local books stores? Also, where do you guys get your books from? Let me know in the comments!



7 thoughts on “A Rock and a Hard Place: Supporting Local Book Stores

  1. natcleary says:

    I buy a lot of books every year. Be it presents for people, prizes or personal, I buy hundreds a year. Last month alone I bought 6 for giveaway prizes. 10 for Birthday presents and around 20 for myself, and thats just in one month!! Could you imagine how much that would be if I had to buy them in a book shop.
    I do the majority of my book shopping online, it makes sense for me and I refuse to feel guilty about it. I would love to do it in a normal shop but their prices are too high. I adore going to a proper book shop but Im still not willing to pay nearly a third more than what I pay online. Im not rich so every little bit I save is helpful. Anyway, my local bookshop is over 35 miles away so even before I get there, its costing me money on petrol!!


    • Alex @ The Shelf Diaries says:

      Sometimes it is more than a third. You are the second person to state a point like this and to be honest, I am starting to agree. I have just bought a Kindle and I wanted to buy Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It was 8.99 in Waterstones. It was £3 on kindle. I can buy more books with the £5 I saved ;D

      i luckily have bookstores about 10 mins away. You have the best excuse to buy online!

      Thanks for stopping by, Nat! 🙂 xxx


  2. Ula @ Blog of Erised says:

    I think some bookstores are too expensive. If Works can turn out profit with those price drops, so could other stores. I hate buying books in stores here because they’re double the price of your stores (15 € for a paperback is pretty normal), not to mention hardbacks at 25 € + and 25 is cheap. HB Perks, translated, is about 30, Harry Potter is almost 37 €. THIRTY. SEVEN. That’s insane. For that amount of money I get 5 books online.

    I don’t feel bad for shopping online, bookstores need to lower the prices because this is insane. They must stay competitive…


    • Alex @ The Shelf Diaries says:

      You have a good point about The Works. As far as I know, they are successful company and most of the books are dirt cheap.

      I have just bough City of Heavenly Fire and it cost me 13 pounds, I saw it in Tesco for £5 yesterday, I am so piised!

      I think that is a really good way to look at it. At the end of the day it will come down to money, which I don’t have much of.

      Thanks for stopping by, Ula! 🙂 xx


  3. Faye M. says:

    Local book stores are simply awesome. While I do read mostly through my digital versions nowadays, it’s true that it’s a different feeling when you read a physical body that’s in your hands. I’ve heard all about book stores closing in the Western part of the world and I find that really saddening, but it only goes to show how much we are becoming even more reliant on techology and how ebook readers have become widely popular. The fact is the world will continue to change, and while it’s not the book store’s fault that they are lacking behind, they also will have to make effort to stay on top of the game. What are the trends? What are you lacking? What can you improvise to lure customers? Can selling or lending ebooks help with the book store? We need to ask these important questions so that they can know what are the key elements in order to be successful in this world that is so technology-driven.

    Thankfully, we don’t have this problem yet in the Philippines due to the lack of ebook readers. So many still are reading the traditional way, and that’s why book stores here are still thriving as ever before. I hope it would remain that way for a while longer – it would be saddened if they closed, too.

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews


    • Alex @ The Shelf Diaries says:

      They really are! 🙂

      I think you have some brilliant points there. I never thought on the book store side of thing. Looking back, they really should have made some kind of an effort to get ahead. I would like to think that they knew what was coming. Bookstores are one thing that I don’t want to fall behind when it comes to technology taking over. They need to get ahead and quickly!

      It must be so lovely to have bookstores still thriving. Don’t get me wrong, there are still bookstores. They are slowly going though! ;/ I hope the do too!

      thanks for stopping by Faye and for such a great comment! 🙂 xxx ❤


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