The Changing Face of Bookshops in the Modern World

Katherine PeachBusiness, Business Articles

Bookshops have been a constant in society for a long time. But with the increasing use of large corporations such as Amazon, it’s been hard for some bookshops to stay above water. We speak with Mel Griffin at Griffin Books to find out more about how the “new normal” means that, like everyone else, bookshops are having to adapt.

“Prior to lockdown our online sales were very limited- this changed overnight! From March onward we continued fulfilling orders via email or phone, but with increased demand it became clear we really needed an online shop- somewhere customers could browse our stock and buy books quickly and easily in just a few clicks. In July, we launched www.giffinbooksonline.co.uk and we haven’t look back! We’re now able to offer a free click and collect service locally, and postal delivery worldwide.

Prior to the pandemic, we also ran a series of literary events. So, in March, we also set about scheduling a programme of Zoom author events and moved our Book Clubs and toddler Storytime sessions online. Our online events have proved to be really popular with audiences and authors alike. We knew how important it would be to keep that connection with our regular customers; what we didn’t foresee was how many new people we would reach by taking our events online. These offers a unique opportunity for book-lovers to chat face-to-face with their favourite authors from the comfort of their living room, but just as importantly they help reduce the sense of isolation many of us have experienced during the pandemic.

Establishing an online presence has enabled us to reach new customers much further afield, many of whom discovered us for the first time via social media. However, our online presence is there to complement and support the physical shop, not the other way around. We see ourselves as a community hub, and our lovely shop in the heart of Penarth’s thriving high street is a huge part of that.

We’re really excited about our winter events programme- from musical memoirs and sporting greats, to bestselling fiction and fantasy noir- there’s something for all tastes and interests!

Griffin Books is Penarth’s only independent book shop, located at the entrance to Windsor Arcade. Visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/griffinbooks for the full programme of events.