The Bookshops

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I really enjoyed the article in the ‘Journal’ last week by Ken Thatcher, the owner of Foyle Books in the Craft Village.

I really enjoyed the article in the ‘Journal’ last week by Ken Thatcher, the owner of Foyle Books in the Craft Village.

He was talking about the old bookshops in Derry. They are almost all gone now. Books and News, Shipquay Street, closed last year: it was a great shop with a good stock of local books as well as a good range of magazines and newspapers. A few years earlier, Tommy Maguire’s shop on Carlyle Road closed. You had to be very careful going into the old shop: there was a board over a rotten part of the floor. It was like Aladdin’s Cave. It had all kinds of books as well as records, coins, stamps, postcards, and train timetables. Tommy had a sense of humour, and a lot of people dropped into the shop just to have a chat with him. Mickey Herron died five years ago. He owned the Bookshop in Carndonagh. He was another very interesting conversationalist who is greatly missed in the community. His daughter took over the business, but the shop closed last October. But another second hand bookshop opened in Carn recently: Jones and Co. We wish it well.

Ken asks:’ What is it with this town and bookshops?’ I ask the same question. There was a shopping mall near where I was staying recently in Brisbane (Do I hear a yawn?). It had three bookshops, and there was a book section in four other shops.

Booksellers are definitely suffering just now because of television, computer games and so on. People buy books on the Internet, and e-books are in great demand.

What does the future hold? Thirty years ago, people thought that the cinema had had its day. But there was a revival. With imagination and sensible pricing policies (e.g. one book at a reasonable price instead of ‘three books for the price of two’) perhaps books will make a comeback.