‘People in Nottingham respect books’: How an independent book shop is keeping print alive

An independent city centre book shop which has been shortlisted twice for a national award said the future is bright for books in Nottingham.

Five Leaves Bookshop opened in 2013 and is the only book store in the East Midlands to be shortlisted for the Independent Book Shop of the Year Award.

Owner Ross Bradshaw said: “We’re very pleased that we’ve achieved this for the second year running.

“The number of people who entered was up 15 per cent nationally, which is good.”

Although Ross says there are still problems in the independent bookshop world, with rent increasing, the printed product still seems to be proving popular.

Five Leaves opened in 2013, and was the first independent city centre bookshop opened this century.

Ross said: “There are new Waterstones bookshops that are branded like independents – rather than being called Waterstones, they’re called by a local name, and they don’t use the branding.

“They look and feel like indie book shops and it’s a very interesting development, some people say it’s misleading but some say that’s what chains should try to do.

“I think it’s a credit to independent book shops.”

Ross Bradshaw, left, owns and manages Five Leaves, which is a ‘radical’ independent book shop. Jane Anger, right, also works there.

Five Leaves are finding that print books are making a comeback in store with turnover up by 18 per cent in 2016.

Ross said: “I think it’s a reflection of people that are returning to the book.

“The average age of our customers is steadily declining and I think young people who read are more taken with the physical book than they perhaps once were.

“With so many e-books being 99p and so much self-publishing, you’d find it hard to pick your way through whereas browsing through a book shop you’d come across the book you never knew you wanted.”

According to the Five Leaves staff, physical books are becoming better looking in response to eBooks.

He said the physical nature of books has improved in response to eBooks and a lot of books are gifts or treasured possessions.

“Children’s books are so much more exciting than they used to be, too.

“Print technology can make it easier and cheaper to make exciting kid’s books but it’s quite interesting to ask, a lot of the children’s books that we sell are children’s books I can remember selling 30 years ago.”

Ross isn’t worried about the takeover of eBooks.

He said: “Physical books will always hold their place and if we can overcome the economic challenges, the future’s bright.

“People 15 years ago were saying the book is dead.”

Advancements in technology means children’s books are only getting more exciting.

“People in Nottingham seem to like buying physical books and buying them as objects, not just for the words inside them,” added Pippa Hennessy, who also works at the shop.

“People in Nottingham respect books.”