Saturday's Western Morning News, our excellent west country daily, has some interesting articles and although the lead announced that crime in Devon and Cornwall had risen by double the national average since 1997 I was drawn to a story on page 9.
I had been saddened on my last visit to Ashburton a few weeks ago to see that The Bookshelf had closed. Today we bought the Western Morning News in the newsagents a few doors away from the empty shop and later read the story on page 9.
"Free-for-all on Internet sealed fate of bookshop" was the headline and Carole Lewis, who had run the independent bookseller for 22 years, explained that cut price competition and the Internet had forced her to close her business.
She said that "independent bookselling is more of a hobby than a living these days" , and that "five small independent booksellers have closed ....in the South West since January".
I felt a distinct feeling of guilt charged with buying books on the internet, of googling for information instead of buying reference books, and of picking up cheap offers in supermarkets.
I will miss going in to The Bookshelf and now wish I had spent more money there.
Can the small independent bookseller survive or have we by our own actions destroyed a fine institution? http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/