Beccles bookshop owner’s bid to save the hardback

The owner of Beccles independent bookshop is continuing the fight to preserve the hardback by organising a string of author readings and signings.

Lee Mason of Beccles Books, on Exchange Square, said he wanted to show people the benefits of using their local bookshops and believes they can offer more than 'faddy' e-books.

'Obviously we need to get people through the door but these events also have added value,' he explained.

'We have done things the supermarkets and internet can't. It is all about being local and providing good face to face service, and one thing you can't do on the internet is have an author signing event. Neither can you sign an e-book.

'Events like this are more than just extras, it's the physical reality of it which appeals.'


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Mr Mason plans to introduce a reading group and increase the shop's online presence.

He has also created links with other local businesses, including the Fisher Theatre in Bungay and the Tourist Information at Beccles Quay, which he supplies books and map stock to.

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The Campaign for Real Books (Cambo) group, which formed last year, stated that the e-book is costly, impractical, and can not be shared between family and friends but Robert Smith, owner of Book Fountain, based on Whartons Court in Wymondham, said the key message is to get people reading.

'It is all about getting people to read. New methods of reading have always come along and we have to get involved with them,' he explained.

'A bookshop is a service rather than a retail industry. E-books are not hitting us as hard as you would expect.'

Book Fountain are also sponsors of the second Wymondham Words Festival, and Mr Smith said it was important to get behind events like these.

Echoing that ethos is Henry Layte, from Book Hive based on London Street in Norwich, who believes the bookshop should be at the heart of its community.

'I think it is down to people like Lee and I getting involved in the community,' he said.

'There is really no threat from e-books. It will change the way bookshops are run but it won't ruin them. I think it is about listening to the customers; you have to listen to them and react to what they want.'

- For more information about events at Beccles Books email becclesbooks@btconnect.com or call 01502 716806.

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