Saturday, April 14, 2007
David Cameron came to Abingdon yesterday, ostensibly to meet the local Conservative party members and candidates standing in the council election. However, thanks to the tireless machinations of the local Chamber of Commerce (under the auspices of our very dynamic president Jill Carver) a deputation (if that's the right word) of us retailers met David (sorry - 'Dave') and the Conservative Council members, to discuss some of the pressing issues facing our businesses in the town. Most of the discussion was on traffic, taxes, red tape, etc. but the value of small, independent businesses to the biodiversity and sustainability of town centres was also on the agenda (mmm, I wonder who slipped that one in there?) After the meeting, David asked about the shop (I can't pretend he came in), we discussed an awful New Labour book that's been stuck on the shelves since we opened (Unfinished Revolution - firm sale sadly) but...it transpired that he grew up a few miles from Wantage, and asked after the independent bookshop he used to visit in the town. Unfortunately, the Wantage Bookshop sadly closed in February, so I was able to make the point about the tough times facing small independent booksellers. So expect questions in parliament soon (maybe not). Just doing my bit to raise awareness of independents ahead of the London Bookfair (ahem). And...talking of striking a blow for independents - see this article in today's Grauniad from those bookselling revolutionaries and Waterstones' gadflies (and soon to be film stars) Adam and Matthew at Crockatt & Powell. Splendid stuff chaps. And I would suggest required reading for anyone involved in bookselling, because its a succinct round-up of the current state of play in bookselling in the UK. I won't be going to London (due to recent family events - plus the fact that Alex now has chickenpox) so I'll have to go next year instead. Still, I'm expecting a succinct report from the C&P boys after the event for those of us not able to go!