Thursday, 5 March 2015

Another of Wellington's bookshops is closing down

Quilters bookshop faces final chapter














John Quilter, of Wellington’s Quilters Bookshop, is closing down his store after 36 years. Photo: CAMERON BURNELL/ Fairfax NZ
I have passed through Wellington so many times in the last 38 years and when I have time, I pop into Quilters bookshop. Also during this period, I have purchased many rare books through John Quilter catalogs. Recently, another bookshop, Parsons, closed down after 66 years. Sad, but the good news is that  John Quilter doesn't think books are dying but the method of buying them has changed dramatically and that could mean the end for stores such as his.
"I'm still overwhelmed by the book, what it's done and how it works. It has no rival, there is no way to do what a book does," he said. "In my mind [the decline] is not to do with digitization, but the distribution of books is done through the internet . . . that's true of all trades, and mine is no exception."
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For John Quilter, this weekend will mark the end of his 36-year-old secondhand store.
"I'm very sad to be leaving it behind," he said. "You meet some very nice and interesting people, it's a very pleasant place to work. All around the world, these shops are closing."
Quilters is now based in Ghuznee St, but previously had its home at Plimmer Steps and later in Lambton Quay. Saturday marks its last day of trading, and its closing down sale.
It is joining several other bookshops around the city to have shut down recently, among them Parsons in Lambton Quay, which had been going for 66 years.
Traditional bookstores have struggled in the age of the internet, Amazon and the big online retailers.
Quilter doesn't think books are dying but the method of buying them has changed dramatically and that could mean the end for stores such as his.
"I'm still overwhelmed by the book, what it's done and how it works. It has no rival, there is no way to do what a book does," he said. "In my mind [the decline] is not to do with digitisation, but the distribution of books is done through the internet . . . that's true of all trades, and mine is no exception."


He plans to continue to sell rare New Zealand books over the internet. "I'm keeping that part of the trade . . . what's going is the general, non-specialist."
Quilter, born on the West Coast, started the store in March 1979, after returning from overseas and doing a bit of work for other traders. "The book trade is a positive trade . . . it doesn't have a downside. I've always enjoyed and looked forward to coming to work."
Thanks to the Dominion post for permission to run this article written by   ALEX FENSOME


The Dominion Post

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