It has oft been said that smaller, independent bookstores are finding it harder and harder to survive due to the ever-present larger chain stores that can offer the same book at discounted prices that the smaller stores just can't afford. It's a crying shame and many a good independent bookstore has had to close its doors as a result. It's hard to walk past a bargain though - human nature makes it hard to resist saving that extra $5 for a matter of principles. Thankfully, living here in Taiwan I'm not quite so riddled with guilt for not buying books from my local bookstore as they don't carry any English language books so I have to buy them from the larger chains like PageOne. Mind you, if I'm ordering from online I do try and use Better World Books or Good Books NZ as they're doing good work for worldwide literacy and Oxfam respectively.
In light of the constant struggle for survival that smaller bookstores face, this story from the Guardian was a real heart warmer and proof that those in charge of some of the larger chains are human after all and not just about the bottom line. Turns out that Lingham's, an independent store opposite UK retail giant Tesco, successfully appealed to the head honcho of Tesco to advertise the fact that their store carried many titles that Tesco didn't and were able to provide a more in-depth book-related customer service. I can hardly believe that Tesco went for the idea but certainly very glad they did. Good on them. By helping out the 'little guy' they surely won't be hurting their profit margin. Who knows. The good karma might even pay PR dividends when people are trying to figure out which supermarket to get the weekly shop from.
Image credit: Rambles from my Chair
Good on you Tesco. You've made the world a slightly better place.