Friday, January 13, 2017

Books have replaced records under the Christmas tree

I was in a few West End bookshops in the week before Christmas and they were busy, as busy as I remember record shops used to be in the week before Christmas.

Albums were formerly the ideal Christmas present. They were the right price and they were always appreciated. Tens of thousands of people would buy albums at Christmas who hardly bought them the rest of the year.

Now all that's gone. The people who used to give albums now give books.

The record business's loss seems to have been the book business's gain.


  1. Any chance of your end of 2016 recommendations this year, please, Mr Hepworth? You recommended 'Kolymsky Heights' by Lionel Davidson this time a year ago and that was one of the best books I read last year so thanks for that.

  2. Not sure I've read much fiction in recent months, but the books I enjoyed last year included A Very British Scandal by John Preston, This Is London by Ben Judah, Dadland by Keggie Carew, The English And Their History by Robert Tombs and, rather belatedly, The People Vs OJ Simpson by Jeffrey Loomis.

  3. This also has to be the wrapping paper business's loss over the years. From square yards for LPs, down to square inches for CDs, and finally a small envelope for an iTunes token.

  4. I never received actual records for Christmas (or birthday), but record vouchers did find their way into my stocking, alongside the apple, orange and peanuts. A bit mercenary in some respects, I suppose, but it meant I could make my own choices, not all of which were winners.
    Apart from “The Beano Annual” and suchlike, I never managed books or vouchers for books.

    Even now my wife will say, “If you see anything you like (as in music and books) buy it.” It’s not that she can’t be bothered, rather she doesn’t want to spend/waste money on something neither of us will read or listen to.

    She also knows what a contrary sod I am.