Straight from the UK:
The UK Booksellers Association have just released the results of a study by the Institute of Place Management, showing statistically the value that bookshops add. They measured things like the pedestrian experience, the ‘liveability’ of their towns, the range and quality of goods available on the High Street and in every case bookshops dramatically improved those experiences. The figures are so remarkable that the BA’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Laura McCormack, said that other retailers “need to be more bookshop”.
“Subsequent interviews found many bookshops contributing to their communities beyond their retail function, with booksellers donating laptops to local schools, taking part in local “beautification” projects, promoting other local businesses through social media, and engaging with vulnerable groups in the community. BA m.d. Meryl Halls said she was ‘delighted’ with the report, adding: ‘We have always known that booksellers punch above their weight, and working with IPM has allowed us to quantify the scope and impact of the trade’s activity. Covid has drastically altered the retail landscape, creating new challenges and compounding issues already facing our high streets pre-pandemic. We know now how the leadership shown by bookshops can make a crucial difference to their communities, and we applaud our members for the work they do—and encourage and inspire even more retailers to do the same.’
‘This is the first time research of this nature has ever been undertaken,’ said Professor Cathy Parker, co-chair of the IPM. ‘While shops and services make up the high street, until now nobody has asked exactly how their businesses contribute to the health of the high street. It’s been taken for granted that they do, but this research shows just how much bookstores do to make high streets vital and viable.’
I think we all knew this deep down although it’s great to have it acknowledged.