Friday 25 August 2023

Thanet history pictures and a ramble from Michael's Bookshop in Ramsgate


Here at Michael's Bookshop in Ramsgate business doesn't change very much, the amount of books we sell now and the amount we sold when we opened in 1987 is about the same. The age of customers is about the same, sales books aimed at teenagers are a little bit stronger than they were, I think that is probably because there is more choice. Since 1987 the amount of people who were alive during WW2 has decreased and so have sales of WW2 books but overall military book sales are still fairly strong. Sales of local history books about the Isle of Thanet are much better than they were but then we have a much larger range, (over 200 different titles) there has been a shift over the years from non-fiction to fiction. This is the link to the pictures of the books we have just put out and is pretty much representative of a day's sales

To me this is pretty strange as it has happened while Ramsgate as a shopping centre has significantly declined. With shops in Ramsgate it has been the large ones that have mostly become empty and there doesn't seem to be a real solution to this, WH Smith and Wilkinson's seem to be next. Will there be any knock on effect? I don't expect there to be.

The reason for this is pretty straightforward and boils down to the number of people who buy books being fairly small so our customers come from a wide area. This is combined with the impact of the internet being almost neutral, on the one hand it has pretty much wiped out illiteracy and while on the other hand a lot of books sell online, it is only really new books that are cheaper online. I would say with WH Smith nearly everything they sell is cheaper online where as with us very little is.   

Unlike Wilkinson's WH Smith is operating at a healthy profit and it seems that Ramsgate is the only town centre shop they are closing. If there is a strange aspect to this it is that there seem to be very few small and medium sized shops vacant in Ramsgate town centre. 

Monday 14 August 2023

Click to Expand, Broadstairs Folk Week by Open Top Bus from Ramsgate and some Thanet History and a ramble

One way of going to Folk Week is on the open top bus.

I go to do a bit of sketching, take a few photos, enjoy the atmosphere and music.

The photos will all expand with clicking or tapping depending on your device

On to the local history pictures 

Flying boat Margate C1932

On to the ramble from Michael's Bookshop here in Ramsgate. As you would expect we are selling a lot of fiction for holiday reading. Over time, reading fiction on a device instead of a book seems to be in decline. This means we are fairly busy, there are not many other reasonably cheap sources of quality fiction in the county of Kent. At the same time there has been a decline in some sorts of non fiction, dictionaries, encyclopaedias and other non fiction where one book covers a broad area don't really sell now. 

Drawing of Grace Jones

I haven't had a lot of spare time for art I did do this freehand A5 pen sketch, loosely based on a photo by Helmut Newton - Grace Jones And Dolph Lundgren, 1985 and it went down well on the various art Facebook groups I posted it to.
Our Children's book section has been particularly busy recently, so if someone tells you that young people don't read books here in Ramsgate I can confirm that they are wrong.

Link to the latest books put out in Michael's Bookshop Ramsgate