Mark Valentine wrote a few year back that the number of bookshops in Britain had actually increased: "There is a general idea that there are fewer second hand bookshops in Britain than there used to be, and that they are slowly fading away. Until recently, I would have subscribed to this notion too. I tend to remember not only where bookshops are, but where they used to be: and it often seems that there are more absences than presences. However, on the best evidence we have, this impression seems in fact to be quite wrong."
No, Fantasy Inn ("6 feet under The Book Inn") was further down the road about where Capital Radio now is. It certainly did disappear under mysterious circumstances. But I've just remembered that the comic shop was called Comic Showcase. It thrived for years up on Monmouth Street and then made the calamitous decision to move to CCR just before the redevelopment started.
I remember Lovejoys very well but the Wordsworth was a remainder chain like Bookcase and was on the opposite side of the road up near where the Phoenix Theatre is. Always remember passing on a remaindered copy of John Gardner's Bond pastiche COLD there. Worth about £300 now. Sigh.
Remember Sportspages too. And of course nearby The Cinema Store which an old chum of mine delighted in referring to as "The Den of Weasels".
Grand times. Don't think we'll be seeing the likes of them again anytime soon.
Wordsworth - if it's the shop I'm thinking of (just past where the fountain used to be?) - was my first ever remainder shop, long before I even knew what they were. I bought copies of The Eerie Book and Best Horror & Supernatural Of The 19th Century on initial visit. It was also a good outlet for Taschem's pin-up & fetish range? Vague memories of Comic Showcase, now you mention it. Very bright in there, racks of horror/ fantasy/ SF movie postcards? And wasn't there a regular book market next to St. Martin's Church? I loved it around there at the time, used to drink in The Bear & Staff and the Aussie pub opposite, The Porcupine.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
There used to be several dedicated bookshops and a few market stalls where books and comics were sold not too far away from me. Now, there is just W.H. Smith.
Interesting about not accepting cash. From my experience, it seems to be whatever the business decides with respect to which type of payment is accepted. Just last week, my wife's car went for MOT and service and cash was accepted with no issue, but we had to buy some medicine for our dog and we had to pay by card...plus have a video consultation with the vet prior to getting the medicine--not easy to point a phone camera into a dog's ear when he's decided he ain't having it.
not easy to point a phone camera into a dog's ear when he's decided he ain't having it.
Just be grateful the problem wasn't at the other end...
lol yes it could have been so much worse...
Just coming back to bookshops, I wonder if the enforced closure of physical shops will now result in a faster transition to purchases from on-line sources. I mean, the trend was already quite apparent prior to lockdown, and despite shops re-opening, people may just not return to them in sufficient numbers to keep them all functioning, but that is not unique to bookshops.