As the late great almost latin scholar said.
O civile, si ergo, Fortibus es in ero. O Nobile, Deus trux! Vatis enim? Causan dux.
This transwosisnames as
Oh, see, Willy, see her go Forty buses in a row. Oh, no, Billy They is trucks! What is in 'em? Cows and ducks.
As the world of shopping changes I try different approaches to the leaflet I produce about the local bookshops that I visit regularly. Partly because of the internet a lot of bookshops have closed, but also a lot of new customers are venturing into secondhand bookshops.
I think there are really a lot of different reasons, one of which is the price of new media, books, films and music, has meant that a lot more people have already bought secondhand online. I think that perhaps the retro fashion of recent years has also encouraged secondhand as has being more environmentally conscious.
I have been a bookseller of sorts, on and off, for a very ling time that extends back into my teens in the 1960s. My wife and I run the bookshop in Ramsgate, which I opened in 1987. Before that I sometimes dealt in books as what is called a runner – mostly in Cambridge and worked or set up some other bookshops mostly in Hertfordshire.
There are probably seven basic types of bookshop, although there are a lot of sub categories.
The first is what I will call, the new full price chain bookshop, at the moment this mostly means Waterstones and the book part of WH Smith.
The second is what I will call the new full price independent bookshop, although these were often small chains of shops in an area. Here in this area this once consisted of Albion Bookshops (excluding Albion Secondhand bookshop also in Broadstairs) these shops were in Broadstairs, Canterbury, Cliftonville and a long time ago also in Ramsgate.
The third is the specialist new full price independent bookshop. The main ones of these that remain are the bookshops on university and college campuses, mostly theses only sell academic books but some are also general bookshops. Religious bookshops. Children’s bookshops these often also do events and parties for children. At one time there were also quite a few bookshops specialising in other subjects like motoring, aviation or history, there a are very few of these left mostly in related tourist attractions, art galleries and museums.
All of the new full price book trade was based around a price fixing agreement called, the net book agreement. This fixed the price of books in the UK meaning that publishers and booksellers could use the more profitable bestsellers to subsidise the less profitable and loss-making books they sold. It also allowed much better support for new writers and writers of modern literary fiction.
During the time the net book agreement ran, (1900 to around 1990,) books in the UK were generally cheaper than in the rest of the world, as you can see on older books that have the book prices for several countries printed on them.
Quantity of quality writers was also very high in the UK for the relative populations size, this was probably due to the way the relationship between the writer and the reader was enhanced.
Members of my family with a chain of four bookshops in Hertfordshire would speak to publishers and authors, read the proofs of new books, before deciding how many of which books to order. Most of all though we also worked in the bookshops, serving the customers and talking to them about books and writers. I am not sure that this situation could ever happen in the same sort of way with large chains of shops, the relationship between the writer and the reader is a fairly intimate one.
The fourth is the remainder bookshop, these are now mostly branches of The Works.
The remainder book trade dates back into the 1700s and relates to having to print a quantity of books and especially books published for the first time, without knowing how many will sell. Up to a point this depends on the printing process at different times in history, the more copies of a book printed in each print run the cheaper the individual book and the cheaper the book the more likely it is to sell.
On the whole the unsold books that are left over have been written off by the publishers accountant, don’t carry a commission for the author and can be bought very cheaply, particularly in large quantities, in my time by the pallet.
Latterly this developed into promotional publishers buying the rights to books and producing cheaper editions especially for the “remainder market,” so that a book could have a price printed on it that it had never sold for and from it’s first appearance always sold for much less than the fake net price.
The fifth is the antiquarian and collectable bookshop, this loosely described as a bookshop where having a particular edition of a book is more important than having a usable copy of the books to read. Strictly speaking an antiquarian book is a book published before 1810 although, for example, the first Harry Potter, first printing in the right condition could be worth around £25,000 and was published in 1997 so couldn’t really be thought of as antiquarian.
I would say that much of the collectable bookshops work is related to the value of the books as collectable items, as distinct from something to read. It is a tricky area where books go up and down in value and differences in price for the same book can be considerable.
The sixth is what I will call the general secondhand bookshop. This is the type of bookshop that we have in Ramsgate and has a stock of modern books that are cheaper than new books.
This type of bookshop has evolved quite a bit recently because of Amazon, Ebay and a lot of new book prices going through the roof.
The seventh is the charity bookshop.
Chaucer Bookshop 6-7 Beer Cart Lane CT1 2NY 01227 453912 mon-sat 10-5 sun & bank hols 11-4 100 bookcases (secondhand antiquarian, collectable, Kent local history)
Oxfam 51 St Peter's Street CT1 2BE 01227 454091 mon-sat 9.30-5.30 sun 11-4 30 bookcases (charity Bookshop)
Catching Lives Books 28 Palace Street CT1 2DZ 7 days 10 to around 5 45 bookcases (charity bookshop)
Burgate Bookshop 10B Burgate CT1 2HG 01227 638458 mon-sat 10-5 Sun 10-4 60 bookcases (charity Bookshop)
Waterstones 8 Rose Lane CT1 2SJ 01227 452354 mon–sat 8.30-6 sun 11-5 (new 2 floors)
The Works 17 High Street CT1 2JE 01227 764267 mon-sat 9-5.30 sun 10-6 (remainder)
WH Smith 19 St George’s Street CT1 2LB mon-sat 8.30-6 sun 10.30-430 01227 766129
Blackwells University of Kent Locke Bldg, University Rd, CT2 7UG 01227 451654 mon-fri 8.30-6 sat 10-4 (new academic)
Christ Church University Bookshop, Canterbury Campus CT1 1QU
01227 782256 mon-fri 9-5 (new academic)
Most of the bookshops within a short drive or bus excursion from Canterbury are in the surrounding coastal towns, so going clockwise around the coast.
Past Sentence 119 West Street ME13 7JB 01795 590000 mon-tue 10-2 sat 10-5 50 bookcases (secondhand general & collectable)
Fleur Bookshop 1A Gatefield Lane ME13 8NX 01795 590 621 mon-sat 10-3.30 23 bookcases (charity Bookshop)
The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre 10-13 Preston Street ME13 8NS 01795 534542 mon-sat 10-4 sun 10-1 12 bookcases (new Kent local history)
Oxford Street Books 20a Oxford Street CT5 1DD 01227 281727 mon-sat 9.30-5 sun 11-4 93 bookcases (secondhand general & collectable)
Harbour Books 21 Harbour St CT5 1AQ 01227 264011 mon-sat 9.30-5.30 sun 10-5.30 25 bookcases (new and remainder)
Bundle of Books 6 Bank Street CT6 5EY 01227 373802 mon 12-4.30 tue-sat 9.30-4.30 30 bookcases (new children’s)
Demelza House Bookshop 165 Mortimer St CT6 5HE 01227 283806 mon-sat 9.30-4.30 30 bookcases (charity Bookshop)
Hooked on Books, 21 High Street CT9 1DL Mon Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 01843 446400 55 bookcases (secondhand general & collectable)
Old Bank Bookshop, 17 The Parade CT9 1EY 01843 220239 Mon-Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 20 bookcase (charity bookshop)
Tiverton Books, Smiths Court Hotel, Eastern Esplanade CT9 2HL 01843 222319 Sun only 10-2. 35 bookcases (general & collectable)
The Broadstairs Bookshop 7 Albion Street CT10 1LU 01843 860824 open every day 10-5 35 bookcases (secondhand general & collectable)
The Chapel 44-46 Albion St, this is a real ale pub with secondhand books for sale, open pub hours 9-12.
Michaels Bookshop, 72 King Street, Ramsgate CT11 8NY 9.30 to 5.30 Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri and Sat 130 bookcases (secondhand general, collectable, new & secondhand Kent history)
In this area The Isle of Thanet, both Ramsgate and Margate have fairly small W H Smiths in their High Streets and Works remainder shops Margate High Street Ramsgate Garden Centre, the main new bookshops, largish Smiths and Waterstones in Thanet are both at Westwood Cross shopping centre.
Monkton Nature Reserve Bookshop Canterbury Road Monkton CT12 4LH 01843 822666 open every day April-October 10-5 Nov-March 10-3 35 bookcases (charity bookshop)
Deal Bookshop, 52 High Street, Deal, CT14 6HE
Oxfam Bookshop 5 High Street CT14 7AA 01304 364752 9.30-5.30 mon-sat 25 bookcases (charity bookshop)
Books 168 High Street CT14 6BQ 01304 368662 12-3 mon, wed, fri 10-2 sat 8 bookcases (general secondhand)
Marrin's 149 Sandgate Road CT20 2DA 01303 253016 9.30-5.30 tue-sat, sometimes closed at lunchtime 45 bookcases (secondhand antiquarian & collectable)
S.B Paperbacks 5 Guildhall Street CT20 1EA Tel: 01303 223922 9.30-4.30 wed-sat (secondhand and remainder paperback fiction)
Oxfam 10 Sandgate Road CT20 1DP 01303 245178 9-5.15 mon-sat 25 bookcases (charity bookshop)
Folkestone also has a Watersone’s, WH Smith and a Works.
Anyway a work in progress this leaflet and any help appreciated
Anyway a work in progress this leaflet and any help appreciated