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. 

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Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.