Stephen Williams - working hard for Bristol West

MP Concerned By Loss Of Bookshops

4.32.25pm BST (GMT +0100) Tue 15th Jun 2010

Stephen Williams MP serving a customer in Oxfam bookshop (photography: Tim Pollard)

Stephen Williams MP serving a customer in Oxfam bookshop

Stephen Williams MP has raised in Parliament the issue of the declining number of bookshops. Prompted by the recent announcement that longstanding Park Street bookshop Blackwells Stephen asked the Secretary of state for Business, Dr Vince Cable, about the number of book shop openings and closings across the country.

The answer showed that there are currently 1,289 independent bookshops. However, in both 2008 and 2009 the number of closures far exceeded the number of new shops: while there had been 106 new shops opening, 185 had closed.

Stephen has said, "I am really disappointed that Blackwells is set to close. This is a big blow for the Park Street and Queen's Road area following the closure of Waterstone's on College Green and Borders last Christmas. Along with the closure of the Clifton Bookshop on Whiteladies Road and the Book Cupboard on Gloucester Road we now have only Waterstone's in The Galleries and just one independent retailer left on North View in Henleaze.

"There has also been a rapid decline in the number of independent second-hand bookshop businesses, though there are still several charity second-hand bookshops.

"Much of this decline can be attributed to changes in people's shopping patterns, both in terms of people buying books from supermarkets, but more significantly, from online retailers. If we want to maintain a high-street presence for book selling then we all need to do our bit as consumers."

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