While banks continue getting bailout money to cover up the losses incurred by their incompetent CEOs, who it appears, have been lavishing funds on redecorating their offices, a UK member of parliament has asked the government to help small independent bookstores:
Kaydee Bookshop in Clitheroe, Lancashire, which was named independent bookseller of the year in 1992, has announced that it will be closing down at the end of this month after 60 years in business, with the loss of nine jobs. Its demise follows the news earlier this month that the UK’s only specialist crime bookshop, Murder One in London, will also close at the end of January, and adds to official figures that show the number of independent bookshops in the UK has plummeted by 22% in the last 10 years, with just 1,390 still open according to the most recent count last summer, compared to 1,774 in 1999. Nigel Evans, Conservative MP for the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, believes Kaydee’s closure is “symptomatic of current economic policy”. He has tabled an early day motion in parliament calling on the government “to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses get the support they both need and deserve in order that they may survive the recession”.
In San Francisco, many were stunned to hear that Stacey’s, an independent bookstore on Market Street that has survived the ups and downs of the business cycle over many decades, will be closing. You could argue that Stacey’s is in the wrong location — Market Street in the Financial District — or that it is too large. But what about Cody’s, a SF Bay Area fixture for so long, which closed their downtown SF store a couple of years ago? The entire book business, from publishing to retailing, is going through a period of extreme distress, one that they may not survive. And that is a shame because I love going to bookstores and spend an inordinate amount of time browsing through books.
Whether or not you agree that helping independent bookstores is less worthy than propping up Royal Bank of Scotland, the message is clear: a lot of small businesses are suffering from the financial crisis and the lack of available credit, not just bookstores but also restaurants, bakeries, and boutiques.