Saturday, 19 January 2013

Granville House in Ramsgate bought by billionaire recluse, some thoughts on the future of bookselling and publishing, even the local papers, a ramble on a cold Saturday afternoon.

So starting with The Granville, this the freehold of the building has been purchased by property investor Eliasz Englander. I don’t really understand if this has any significance for the short or medium term future of the this major Pugin designed iconic part of Ramsgate’s seafront skyline.

I did recently publish a book about the history of the Granville, this link takes you to the post about the book with links to lots of photos I took of inside parts of The Granville recently  

Parts of the Granville are in a sorry state of disrepair, so with a bit of luck Mr Englander will do something about this.

While the music and film industry moves much closer to a totally virtual product with the HMV and Blockbuster’s problems, the ebook world lead by Amazon looks set to eliminate the book publisher.

I guess in the case of publishers this is pretty much self inflicted, but there is the old problem of how do you browse books without physical books on shelves in a bookshop.

I will try to explain this one as best I can;

If you come into my bookshop, you can look at every part of every book on the shelves, this activity – known as browsing – can’t be replaced online because if the customers can view all of the content of all of the books without paying anything, then there isn’t any way of getting people to pay for them.

Now say you write a book, a few years ago you would have sent the manuscript off to some publishers in the hope that one of them would publish it. Now however you just send it to Amazon and they publish it, it doesn’t have to be any good or even make sense.

I still haven’t managed to get out and buy a copy of this weeks Isle of Thanet Gazette so I am not sure if they have covered the sale of the Granville, if they already have apologies all round.     

Thanet Earth have finally publicly owned to having a fourth greenhouse, see it amazes me that such an important aspect of the local economy produced so little in the way of public information. 

The picture is of The Granville just after it was bombed during the war.


  1. Once again you have beaten the Gazette with your Granville House report [surprise, surprise!]
    Their front page 'story' about Sainsbury at Westwood Cross had no maps, no plans and warranted just 4 single-column inches.
    As they recently hiked the price up to 70p, maybe they could afford to hire you as their investigative journalist when you are not selling books?

    1. Col I think the Gazette has the same conundrum that we are facing in the bookselling world, which is basically with far more text than anyone could possibly read, being added to the internet and available for free, how does anyone get paid for writing anything?

      I guess the key here would be working out some way that people would pay so they were only presented with writing that was reasonably good, accurate and useful.

      I work on the basis that giving half an hour a day to writing the blog, reminds people that my bookshop is still in existence and possibly worth a visit, and therefore justifies the time and effort.

  2. Good marketing strategy Michael and you don't have to pay advertising fees.

  3. I understand that Granville House was bought for 156,000.

    1. Liking the reference to Mr Englander as being a billionaire, not quite there yet multi millionaire yes

  4. You need to find that newspaper - todays editions that is, Thanet gazette hilton hotel story

  5. Message to Hilton. Granville is a more prestigious drier location ?


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