This review sets out succinctly some of the problems facing small booksellers these days, and it is a thoroughly entertaining read. But it is often the case, of course, that it is highly entertaining to read about someone else's pain and difficulty. It is when one is experiencing pain and difficulty oneself that it becomes harder to laugh. Or even smile.
Meanwhile, Michael Cader, in yesterday's Publishers Lunch newsletter, continued to pour scorn on the behaviour of the retail side of the UK book trade.
The 'UK market continues to sow its own destruction', he says, quoting by way of an example the Telegraph interview with James Heneage, founder of Ottakar's. Cader adds:
Prominent publishers at a London Book Fair panel insisted they don't extra discount to the Tescos of the world. Heneage says they do, and that has been the undoing of his once-successful and fast-growing chain of stores. "They can undercut because they get better terms from the publishers." (The latest stroke of genius being considered by UK publishers, which you have may heard about, is to destroy their traditional market even more by raising cover prices on new hardcovers. The hope is that this allows traditional stores to offer better fake discounts to naive consumers, which will somehow keep them from realizing that the books are still cheaper elsewhere.Ah me. And secondly meanwhile, Clive Keeble slaps my wrist again for failing to mention that all books are (normally) available from your friendly local bookseller, whose children can already be recognised by the absence of shoes. Yes, yes, I am guilty as charged, I have failed to do those things which I ought to have done. (Whether I have also done those things which I ought not to have done is not a matter on which I am prepared to comment.) But I have sent Mrs GOB to our local man to buy my birthday present, Clive. Promise.