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How printed books entered a new chapter of fortune

Earlier this year, Simon Key rummaged around the tills at his bookshop in North London and came up worryingly short. “Basically, we had six days to raise £10,000,” he says. “That is quite a lot when you are taking about £300 a day through the till.”

Instead of panicking, he sent a tweet. “I’m off to bed,” it read. “From 9am tomorrow you really need to start buying some books off us. We’re seriously skint. Six days to pay bills.”

When he woke the next morning, Key had hundreds of emails from people looking to buy his books, and the Big Green Bookshop was trending in London. “It was phenomenal,” he says. “It felt like everywhere in the world was buying books from us.”

It is an illustrative tale of the difficulties of running an independent bookshop, as well as an example of the kind of extra-curricular measures that sometimes need to be taken to keep business going. The Big Green Bookshop also hosts comedy nights, board games clubs, banquets and yoga evenings. It has had to branch out because selling books is not enough.

Not many independent bookshops can be so versatile, of course. And even fewer can boast a Twitter profile with more than 25,000 followers. Times are therefore tough, and it will not come as a surprise to anyone with even a brief understanding of the British high street that the number of independent bookshops has almost halved in the past 11 years, according to the Booksellers Association.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/15/printed-books-entered-new-chapter-fortune/

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