Poll: Waterstones unveils plans for new bookshop in Southwold

Waterstones is to open a bookshop in Southwold. Waterstones is to open a bookshop in Southwold.

Callum Maclean callum.maclean@archant.co.uk
Thursday, June 19, 2014
10:00 AM

Plans have been unveiled to open a new bookshop in a costal town.

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The shop, trading under the name The Southwold Bookshop, has been announced by Waterstones.

The bookshop will trade as The Southwold Bookshop from a 900 sq ft shop on the High Street.

The building, previously occupied by the Tourist Office, and the shop will restore to Southwold a dedicated bookshop following the closure of the Orwell Bookshop in 2011 and Bookthrift the following year.

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said: “We are delighted to have found such a lovely shop and to be able to bring a true bookshop back to Southwold.

“We are calling it The Southwold Bookshop to reflect that it will be a quintessentially local bookshop.”

He added: “I run my own bookshop, I’m an independent book seller myself. I came in to try to rescue Waterstones and I hope that what I’m doing is making each individual store different.

“The Southwold Bookshop will be as least like a chain as it possiblly can. Southwold, somewhere I know extremely well, should have a bookshop. Southwold shouldn’t have chains and, critically, it shouldn’t have chains that look like chains.

“The bookshop will have local staff and local customers. There’s an appetite for a bookshop in the town.

“We sold books at the Southwold Literary Festival and literally every single person said ‘why don’t you open up here?’

“The fact we’re owned by a chain shouldn’t matter too much.”

Morgan Richards, manager of Collen & Clare and a member of the Southwold Chamber of Trade committee, said: “While some independent businesses have adapted their offering to include a limited range of books, there is clearly still a demand for a specialist bookshop and Waterstones’ arrival in the town will be welcomed by many.

“We are pleased to see that Waterstones aim to make it a quintessential bookshop stocking books rather than products which compete with existing independent businesses.”

Clare Hart, owner of Chapmans and part of the My Southwold team, was keen to stress the loyalty that customers are displaying with regard to the independent businesses, saying: “The My Southwold initiative is designed to encourage people to focus their spending on local independent businesses and keep their money circulating within the local economy. Waterstones appear to have listened to local concerns about clone high streets.

“By branding the new store as The Southwold Bookshop and describing it as ‘a quintessentially local bookshop’ they are trying to tap into the trend for indie businesses and shop local – and we at My Southwold are delighted the big boys want to emulate us.

“My Southwold works in conjunction with The Chamber of Trade and currently has around 25 business participants. Consumers make frequent use of their cards which unlock offers at each participating business. Several of the smaller chain stores have asked to be associated with the scheme but it is designed very specifically to support independent businesses.”

The bookshop will open on July 18.

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