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Independent bookshop numbers have fallen by more than a quarter since 2006 according to official figures released by the Booksellers’ Association, which is calling for immediate action to reverse the “stark” decline.

The trade body says that it had 1,483 independent bookseller members in June 2006, with the number falling by 26% to 1,099 by June 2011. There has also been a “marked drop-off” in the number of bookshops opening, with just 23 new stores joining the Booksellers’ Association so far this year, compared with 50 in 2010.

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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