Charity bookshop trade grows despite incline in eBook sales

A bookshop in Nottingham which recently celebrated its seventh birthday is continuing to prosper despite continued growth in popularity of digital books.

Bookwise located on Goose Gate, Nottingham, is one of three charity shops selling second-hand books to a Nottinghamshire customer base. Operating in Newark and Southall in addition to their Nottingham store, the organisation is run entirely by a team of around thirty volunteers.

Recent years have seen a sharp growth in a trend of customers deciding to purchase digital books rather than their paper counterparts; however, the first quarter of 2019 has seen a decrease in eBook sales by 4.5%.

Despite this, paperback books are still regarded as a back-up option with audio eBooks becoming a regularity among readers and, as a result, bookshops are being forced to close their doors across the country.

“Book production is now going into the direction of luxury books; they are becoming beautiful objects.” Said Angela Smallwood, a volunteer at the store. “People are interested in beautiful books but they are also interested in cheap books.

“The three shops together have running costs but we do raise over £40,000 per year.

Close charity ties

Bookwise Nottingham thrives due to a close association with the charity ‘Music for Everyone’.

In addition to the shop’s variety of books, the store also has a large collection of music sheets. These second half sheets are often hard to locate; therefore, the charity shop attracts customers from across the country and, sometimes, even across the nation.

“We get a lot of trade across our three shops,” Angela continued. “This shop would not exist if it was not staffed entirely by volunteers.

“If you had to pay staff it would not make enough. With volunteers, it makes enough to pay for the building, the charity has their office upstairs. Thanks to the Bookwise initiative they get a free office, we pay their office expenses and make a donation to them.”

The sale of paperback books is on a continual decline; however, Bookwise continues to fight to thrive in the difficult climate.