Publisher Buys Bookshops to Beat Chains


By Carmen Comment

The Glasgow Sunday Herald reports that Birlinn Press, one of Scotland’s largest publishers, has bought the first in a series of independent bookshops in a bid to thwart the big chain domination. Hugh Andrew, managing director of Birlinn Press (best known for first publishing Alexander McCall Smith) rescued Elgin bookshop Yeadons from closure and is keen to open other shops as he attempts to revive the once thriving independent industry.

“I had been thinking about this for some time and when the final closing signs went up we just got straight in, as it was now or never,” said Andrew. “There is a reaction now against everything being done through giant chains, shopping centres and done on price. But you only have to see the success of farmers markets and look down south, where the independents are flourishing. There is no reason why this can’t happen in Scotland. In the 19th century, Edinburgh was the biggest publishing centre in the world, and we have just gone so far backwards and no-one seems to have cared or noticed.”