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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dundalk bookshop leading the fightback amid the digital gloom | Dundalk Democrat

Tom Muckian is beavering away in the back office at Roe River Books on Park Street in the heart of Dundalk’s town centre, reports David Lynch, Managing Editor, Dundalk Democrat.

Photo: Roe River Books
It’s a rain-flecked, but sunny, Thursday afternoon. He’s busy putting together important school books orders.

Although the term is just finished, it is among the busiest times of the year right now, ahead of the start of the new school term in September.

Tom appears from the back of the shop, with glasses perched on top of his head, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans - for all the world looking like one of those tech start-up types - heaven forbid! He admits, though, that school books keep the doors open to a large extent.

The store was, in a previous life, home to a video/DVD rental shop called Planet. Now it has floor-to -ceiling shelves lined with books. While the DVD and video market has gone the way of the dinosaurs, the fortunes of book shops have, if not improved, at least stoically held fast as the digital age dawned...

By his own reckoning, Tom believes it was book shops that took the first hit when the online retail boom kicked-off in the early-2000s - the impact was huge and the industry struggled to stabilise. There were casualties. However, as the reach of the retail digital monster increased, all other sectors on the high street have fallen in due course. But, the way Tom sees it, book shops learned early and have managed to hold on to their diminished niche admirably as the onslaught continues.
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Source: Dundalk Democrat