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Philip Evans


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SIDMOUTH: New bookshop part of ‘mini-boom’

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A new branch of bookshop Winstone’s is soon to open in Sidmouth – part of a mini-boom in the South West, according to experts. The new high-street store, which will stock 8,000 titles, is the fifth new bookshop opening announced in the space of a week. Wayne Winstone opened his store in Sherborne, Dorset, in 2012, and has twice been named the region’s Independent Bookseller of the Year by industry experts. And Mr Winstone now says he is looking forward to opening the new branch in Sidmouth, where he plans to support local writers and societies as well as raising the profile of books and reading within the town. He said: “If the location is right, the demographic suits your offer, and your customer base is affluent and values its high street, then there is an opportunity to open a bookshop in this climate. “Sidmouth is a truly beautiful seaside town and we are very much looking forward to serving the community.” Asked if this was the start of a Winstone’s mini-chain, he added: “Who knows? Obviously I would like to grow the business but we have to be realistic about the way the market is. “The book market has been shrinking by 4.5 per cent each year. The economy seems to be on a rollercoaster and I have to take these figures into account. We have to be mindful of what is going on in the real world.” Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers Association, said the new openings showed that these were “exciting” as well as “challenging” times for bookshops. He said: “No one can doubt that booksellers, through their creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial skills are absolutely adding value to the bookshop experience for consumers. “It is very heartening too to see increased support for bookshops from publishers and authors. There seems to be an increased recognition of the importance of booksellers in bringing books to life and, indeed, authors to the market.”

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