World Book Day 2014: Why We Need Independent Bookshops

World Book Day at Urmston Bookshop

World Book Day 2014 falls this coming Thursday, 6th March and, in celebration of this special day, every school-aged child will receive a token for a free book.  Here are five reasons why you should use your token at Urmston Bookshop on Flixton Road.

1.  Independent bookshops champion reading.  Peter and Frances Hopkins of Urmston Bookshop bring beautiful books and stories into the community with school visits and many events both in the shop and at Urmston Library.  They run creative writing workshops, a book group and engaging events for children in the school holidays and at weekends.

2.  Independent bookshops bring writers and illustrators into the heart of the community.  In the past year, Urmston Bookshop has played host to Johnny Vegas, Ann Widdecombe and children’s author Steve Hartley among many other luminaries.  They even held a book launch for a cat!  This Thursday they have organised an evening with literary legend Joanna Trollope at Urmston Library.

3.  Independent bookshops are run by people who love books, rather than big companies who see books as units to be shifted at maximum profit, no more special than a tin of beans or a tube of toothpaste.  Frances and Peter Hopkins at Urmston Bookshop know and love books and they give fabulously apt recommendations – and not in a robotic, Amazon-esque ‘people who bought X also bought Y’ kind of way.

4.  Independent bookshops pay their taxes.  There are approximately 1,028 bookshops in the UK.  If they each pay tax of £10,000 (and it really isn’t worth all their hard work if they are paying less than this, so this estimate is very conservative) that’s £10 million per year.  Did you know that on-line bookselling behemoth Amazon paid just £2.4 million in UK corporation tax in 2012?  On top of that, more of the money you spend in an independent bookshop stays in the community: the Centre for Local Economic Strategies says that for every £1 that is spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into that local economy.  Independent bookshops are good for our local economy.  Amazon does nothing for our local economy and pays disproportionately into our greater economy: that’s why their books are cheaper.

5.  Independent bookshops encourage other interesting businesses to open up in the same area.  Flixton Road in Urmston now boasts an utterly charming vintage shop, a specialist dancewear shop, a clothing boutique, a sweet shop, a tattoo parlour and many other quaint, quirky or useful little businesses that keep Urmston interesting.

Buying from your local independent bookshop is a much nicer experience than purchasing online.  This World Book Day, take a wander in to Urmston Bookshop and see for yourself how special it is.

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