Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Murder in the High Street…Is this the end of the Bookstore?

By Darren E Laws

Sad news reaches me today that one of the UK’s leading independent bookstores Murder One in Charing Cross Road, London has become the latest victim of the economic downturn.  Murder One, only months away from its 21st year in business, succumbed to the pressures of the crunch as owner, Maxim Jakubowski, failed to find a buyer for the store. Jakubowski whose planned retirement at the end of the year has been brought forward by the failure to find a buyer threw the towel in rather than dragging out a painful and lingering death for the world famous crime bookstore specialist.

Murder One has long been a friend to independent publishers and were kind enough to stock our crime fiction title ‘Turtle Island’.  The fact that a specialist in the heart of book land in London’s West end can disappear without a buyer coming forward is a sad day for publishers everywhere.  As an independent publisher it is difficult enough persuading bookstores to stock titles from a new author so it is doubly depressing when an outlet such as Murder One ceases trading.  I cannot imagine another specialist crime book store filling the void too quickly, especially with the current economic conditions prevailing. 

As this year evolves we will see other shocks that reverberate and impact on the world of publishing.  There will be more pressure than ever before on retailers and the Internet will play an important and increasing part providing a platform for niche publications as often the only source to find certain titles.

To Mr Jakubowski and all the staff, Murder One will be sorely missed and leave a void in Charing Cross Road and for readers and writers of crime fiction everywhere.

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