London: The number of bookshops in the UK has halved in the past six years and nearly 600 towns have none at all, because of the rise of internet retailers and the growing popularity of e-readers, a new research has revealed.
There were 2,178 high street bookshops left in Britain in July compared with 4,000 in 2005; a total of 580 towns do not have a single bookshop, according to the research carried out by Experian, a data company.
Campaigners have warned that the loss of bookshops, coupled with threats to close thousands of libraries as part of council cuts, will lead to "book deserts" across large areas of the country, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
Tim Godfray, the chief executive of the Booksellers Association, which represents independent bookshops, said: “These are very difficult times for bookselling and high street retailing in general.”
"While the overall picture in terms of the number of independent booksellers in the UK is still one of contraction, we continue to do as much as we can to support booksellers, whose presence on the high street makes such an essential contribution to culture in the UK."
Roger Hickman, the owner of the Mole & Haggis Bookshop in Devon, said he is ‘only just’ in business and predicted that in five years, there will be ‘very few’ independent bookshops left.