An interesting article on the Guardian’s book blog last week:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/apr/22/books-vanish-bookshops

Essentially it seems that when people lose their favourite bookstore they don’t necessarily turn their attentions to another shop, or even to good old Amazon – they simply stop buying as many books. How bizarre!

We had a much loved Borders in which we spent many a happy afternoon and were very sad indeed when we lost it after the company collapsed; but it certainly hasn’t stopped us from buying books. But then we’re fortunate to live close to Hay-on-Wye, a part of the UK that has many very good second-hand book shops.

One thing that I don’t do much anymore (and something I do feel guilty about) is to buy books for the full RRP (Recommended Retail Price) from independent book stores. It wasn’t that long ago that a book’s RRP was the set price in any shop you went in, but now shopping around, particularly on the internet, can lead to the consumer discovering a vast discrepancy in cost from different retailers.

I was in one of my favourite bookstores the other day, just having a browse, when I started flicking through a copy of ‘Faulks on Fiction’. It’s a beautiful looking book, and one which I am longing to read. It costs £20 RRP from my local bookshop, but less than £10 from Amazon; that’s quite a difference in price, with the only downside to the customer being the couple of days it takes to arrive from Amazon.

Except, if we don’t support and buy at least the occasional book for it’s RRP from smaller bookstores, then they really will disappear, and that would be a terrible shame.

Yes, book prices have gone up, but so has the cost of most things, and a paperback at full RRP still costs little more than a ticket to my local cinema – and gives much more value for money in my opinion. With six booklovers in our household I’ve worked out that although I’m purchasing more books than ever before, thanks to the fantastic second hand book shops I have locally, I’m probably spending less than I was ten years ago when I was just buying for me.

So maybe tomorrow I will pop out and buy myself ‘Faulks on Fiction’ for – shock, horror! – the full RRP after all.

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