I was following a conversation on a group on Facebook (I know, I know) and it was pointed out that people don’t seem to realise the services that local, independent bookshops offer.
Most independent bookshops are a wonderfully curated collection of books for you to spend time in and get that right book for you from the shelf there and then. If the shop doesn’t have that one specific book you are looking for the vast majority of shops can (and are more than pleased to) order that book in for you and it will usually take less than 48 hours for it to arrive.
In fact independent bookshops can offer all the services of the larger bookshops, ordering, pre-ordering, and book searches (and none of these are offered by the supermarkets, petrol stations or other bookselling oddities). They also offer something that you will never find on Amazon, tailored and personal service that actually listens to you as an individual rather than an algorithm.
This carries through to the other services that bookshops offer. Activities, events, social evenings, and much, much more.
A lot of local bookshops also run outreach activities, getting books into schools, including with their authors, and these efforts are becoming recognised as being really important and bookshops are becoming an integral part of the village/town/city once again.
An of example of this is Drake’s Bookshop in Stockton, whilst not only being a Regional winner of Independent Bookshop of the Year, is now in the running for Britain’s Best Small Shop. This is due to the hard work of the owners and staff in putting on an exciting array of events and activities throughout the year, but also for championing reading as an important part of education and championing independent bookshops as an important factor in facilitating this.
So get yourself out there and find a local independent bookshop (you can use the maps to find your nearest) and see what they have to offer you, it will often be much more than you were expecting.