An independent bookshop has been forced to slash its opening hours in order to try and survive following “savage” competition from online Goliaths.
Better Read Books in Ellon posted a statement online last week which outlined its pared-back trading times.
“Once upon a time there was a book shop in Ellon,” began the social media post.
“It was run by a family team who were passionate about books.
“Over the last few years the competition from supermarkets and global internet giants has been savage and all traditional retailers have felt the strain of these tough times.”
Speaking last night, owner Bill Kelly, expanded on his post and said they would not be closing completely, but would be starting to concentrate on selling books online.
Mr Kelly said: “We are taking stock of how we do business – which will mean reducing the amount of space we have at the moment for group meetings.
“We are going to increase the visibility of books within the shop.
“We are determined to continue to offer our loyal customers the same service – but only between Thursdays to Saturdays.
“And we will continue to offer some poetry evenings, but again on a smaller scale.
“We have built up many friendships with our customers over the years and we don’t want to let any of them down.
“The competition has been extremely difficult – but hopefully people will realise that we can offer more than a faceless online retailer.”
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As well as selling books, the family-owned business also offers a book binding and repair service and hosts regular book signing and poetry events.
“We are not just selling commodities”, said Mr Kelly.
“I believe that books are essential to the health of the entire country.”
Ellon councillor Gillian Owen agreed and said hoped more people would return to their local high street and support the small independent shop, and others like it.
She said: “It’s so sad to hear that Better Read Books is struggling; yet another business seeking new ways to enhance their business.
“Ellon appears to be suffering its own downturn with several vacant shops and a number of businesses having left for one reason or another.
“Seeing the old Bank of Scotland as an empty eyesore is disappointing and that also has an impact.
“My family and I make a conscious effort to shop locally, by using the fish shop, the bakers and the butchers in Costcutter.
“We would all like to see more and varied retail but if we don’t support the ones we have we are not going to encourage new ones in.”