To save real books
AND stop the libraries and bookshops closing.
With your membership you get discount in bookshops, too.
I have an abiding childhood memory of going around the seven bookshops in Bath on a Saturday morning looking for my books, knowing that if you didn't find it in the first shop, you'd find it somewhere else. Bliss!
Then Waterstones arrived and pretty much killed off all its competitors, except for the one I ended up working in, Whiteman's in the Orange Grove. Now Supermarkets and Online sources are killing off the rest.
My hubby even wrote a letter to the paper about the final demise of Whiteman's:
'I see from the prominent 'To Let' sign in Orange Grove that Whiteman's Bookshop is finally closing. For many years Whiteman's was a good example of the smaller independent bookshop in Bath city centre. I remember the days well, when the city centre positively bustled with independent book retailers, co-existing with each other in a state of friendly and generally supportive rivalry. Wandering around the streets of Bath it used to be such a pleasure to pop into the various small bookshops to browse or ask questions of helpful and friendly staff. Who remembers Bowes & Bowes, Searight’s/Pan Books, Chapter & Verse, Bilbo's Books? How many Bath residents can now point to a volume on their bookshelves and say that they bought that in Wessex Books, Paperbacks or the Bridge Bookshop?
If one of these bookshops didn't have what you wanted, they would invariably point you in the direction of one of their fellow retailers. I used to work in Whiteman's myself many years and several owners ago. There was a comfortable permanence about the place, after all, people would always need books, wouldn't they?
Whiteman's was particularly attractive to me because it was a Specialist Supplier of transport titles and Ordnance Survey maps. Service to the customer was always paramount, even in the 'literally', dark days of the three-day week and regular power cuts, when a single high-pressure gas lamp was positioned in the centre of the shop to provide illumination.
Some will argue that the beginning of the end for Bath's small bookshops came when a large national bookselling chain store opened in the city. Or perhaps the ending of the Net Book Agreement meant that proprietors couldn't afford to pay high rents any longer.
Whether or not this is true, Whiteman's Bookshop managed to stay in business for many years, keeping the tradition of independent bookshops alive and I feel that Bath will be the poorer for its passing'.
How many of you love printed books like us, rather than e-books and online sources?