Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 16:46 UK

Bookshop's demise blamed on web

Bookland, Bangor
The Bookland shop is right in the city centre

A well-known bookshop has closed its branch in Gwynedd blaming cheap online book sellers, and the decline of the traditional high street.

Bookland first opened its doors in Bangor 70 years ago.

Shop acting manageress Bet Thomas said it was impossible to compete with cheap online prices, and the general slow down in High Street sales.

The Booksellers' Association said it was a familiar story around the UK, but it also depended on the local economy.

"Book buyers buy from different places, including the internet," said the association's head of membership services, Meryl Halls.

It was a "general issue", but it also depended on the local bookshop, she added.

"It is a growing issue, although there are disadvantages to buying online as if you go into a shop you can buy the book straight away and not have to wait for the parcel in the post.

Bet Thomas
Books online are sold cheaper than we could buy them
Bet Thomas, Bookland

"Many of the smaller shops point out the difference as an advantage, but there are locally dependent factors too when it comes to closure," she added.

Mrs Thomas, speaking on BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf programme, said the Bangor shop could not compete on price with online sellers, and also local out-of-town supermarkets.

"Older customers aren't able to go there however, and don't shop online, they enjoyed coming into the shop, but everything comes to an end," she added.

Some of the Bookland shop fixtures are being taken over by the North Wales Society for the Blind who also have a shop in the city centre.

Gwilym Bowen, from the association, said: "It's a great pity that Bookland is closing, it's a loss to the city," he said.

'Edge-of-town'

"Fewer people seem to be coming into the city and we (the association) had thought of moving out ourselves.

"We decided to stay here in the end though because this is where public transport brings people."

Local butcher Caradog Jones added: "Things are changing on the high street with more trade going to the larger first on the edge of town.

"It is a pity as the high street is important to every town.

"I remember when there were 20 butchers' shops in Bangor, now I'm the only one left," he said.

A spokesman for Gwynedd Council said high street businesses the length and breadth of the country were being affected by the current difficult economic situation.

"Officers from the council raised the issue with the assembly government recently," he said.

"We will continue to ask them if any additional support can be offered to high street shops during this difficult period," he added.




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