Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Bookshop News

Irish bookshop chain Hughes and Hughes closed in February.

Now, apparently, five of their branches have reopened. I haven't checked if the one nearest my office has reopened (although thankfully their Costa Coffee outlet with the nice caramel slices is still going) but I am hopeful!

I really noticed the loss of Hughes and Hughes about a month ago. I was looking for the latest Alice Hoffman, or failing that, any Alice Hoffman I hadn't read. We used to have four bookshops in the area - one secondhand, one heavy on the holiday reads, one adequate but small. In the absence of Hughes & Hughes, I had no luck. I'm not saying Hughes & Hughes would definitely have had it - but they did have a large shop floor (which contributed to their downfall apparently. Rents in Ireland are high) so my chances would have been better. As it was, the secondhand shop had the widest range.

I don't have many Irish readers so most of you probably don't care very much - but I'm going to take a leap and say you're probably all in favour of more bookshops :)

13 comments:

  1. I'm with you on the book shops!

    The more the merrier!

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  2. It's so said to see them shut down but I fear we will see it more and more now. Even Borders is struggling.

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  3. More bookshops are vital, but they do have to try harder. I am sick of going past some of mine which resemble rubbish dumps they are so tatty.

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  4. It's great that H&H have been able to re-open some of their stores; I was in the one in Swords two weeks ago, and the staff were delighted to be back trading again.

    They were definitely missed.

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  5. Al, I was thinking of you earlier today actually, when I stumbled upon this, written by a book-loving Melbourne resident: http://web.overland.org.au/2010/06/08/this-is-my-confession/

    Karen, Borders opened their first store here about four years ago and were supposed to open more, but it never happened. And the first one closed. . . they never even managed to get a proper toehold here, which isn't a good sign. The Irish *love* multinationals!

    Donna, I have to agree with you. I've said before that I've had bookshops tell me they can order something and it will arrive within three weeks, when I can get it from Amazon in five days. I know they're constrained by distribution channels etc but the fact is that, whatever the reason, they just aren't competing.

    Bronagh, I don't know the Swords branch at all, but I really missed Stephen's Green and Dun Laoghaire! I don't think Dun Laoghaire has reopened but I am living in hope :)

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  6. I'm definitely all about love of bookshops! I don't know much about Irish novels but I still appreciate a good book!

    I love my corner book store (The Blue Willow Bookshop) and I hope to see it never disappear!

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  7. I am all in favour of more bookshops!!!!! And not just more bookshops - a whole variety of bookshops - commercial, independent, specialised, second hand... online/e-access whatever! - the whole gamut!!!

    One can never have enough bookshops and books of all genres and formats.

    take care
    x

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  8. I love bookshops! Glad to see more opening again :-)

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  9. Our local indie bookshop is my second home!

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  10. Ellen I'm taking you up on your offer of encouragement!! I didn't even think of online podcasts so thanks for the tips!!! I'll be looking into it this evening! We will work on this together!

    BTW - I'm a complete beginner as well. I've never learned an ounce of French at all but I'm dying to learn!

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  11. So glad everyone has come out in favour of bookshops - not surprised though!

    Jen, I'm going to download some podcasts tonight, I'll let you know if I find any good ones!

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  12. To tell you the truth, I'm quite surprised they managed to get stock in. Their debts were quite substantial and my guess is a lot of publishers lost a fair bit of money when they went into receivership.

    That being said, without them the Irish market is completely dominated by one player, and even though I'm having warm fuzzy feelings towards that player right now I do think competition is healthy for everybody.

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  13. I remember when your feelings were a little less warm and fuzzy, so I definitely agree that competition is the way forward - especially in a tiny country like Ireland where cartels rule most of the time.

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