Celebrated Children’s Book Shop, The Lion and The Unicorn, Forced to Close
The Lion and The Unicorn in Richmond has become one of over 500 independent book shops in Britain to go out of business over the last 8 years.
The store, which, in 2000, became the first children’s book shop to win Independent Bookseller of the Year, opened 36 years ago with a personal appearance by Roald Dahl. Since then it has been visited by Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Shirley Hughes, Anthony Horowitz and the current Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman.
As well as linking the closure to rising rents, the book shop owner blames the Amazon-effect, describing how parents would come in and ask her staff advice on particular books and authors, before taking photograph of book covers on their mobile phone to make sure they had the right title when they placed their orders online.
She also explains that, with the arrival of e-readers such as Kindle, fewer teenagers were coming into the store because they prefer to consume books on screen.
How do you prefer to read your books? Is it true that young people prefer to read on screen than pick up a book? And how do you feel about the steady disappearance of independent children’s book shops?