I was in Bristol yesterday for a meeting, and had a couple of hours in which to browse for books – except the bookshops all seemed to have disappeared. The Borders store, closed now for almost a couple of years, is about to re-open as a Wilkinsons, which is a little surprising; the University Waterstones looked like it was being refurbished, hopefully to re-open though (?), and best of all, the Blackwell’s, long showing the signs of a chain in trouble and struggling to survive, is now a Jamie’s Italian.
In Swindon, meanwhile, there is actually a new stationery shop, Pen and Paper, which is also selling a few remaindered books. Which counts as a 50% increase in the number of book-selling outlets in town, as far as I can work out .