Last big bookshop of our lives?

Last big bookshop of our lives?


norman lebrecht

June 06, 2014

After three years of building chaos on Charing Cross Road, the new Foyles opens tomorrow.

London’s landmark bookshop, 111 years old, will cover 37,000 feet of sales space across four storeys.

‘Bearing in mind what is going on in the market at the moment with Amazon, internet sales increasing and digital book sales rising, if we are going to stick around as a physical bricks and mortar store then we have to be more energetic and focused about what we are offering,’ said chairman Christopher Foyle. ‘The past 100 years have been a different time to what we are facing now. We have to diversify. If it was just about the building we would have closed the current store tomorrow and rented it to Sainsbury’s or Armani. But we wanted to invest in our future.’

This could be the last-chance saloon for dedicated readers. Get down there while stocks last.



photo (c) Lebrecht Music&Arts


  • Michael Hurshell says:

    Happy to hear there is still a book store… In germany, I visit the Dussmann Kulturhaus, which is just slightly larger (3,700 sq. meters, so just under 40,000 sq. feet) – and includes a rather nice classical CD area (one entire floor). How much longer, we all wonder…

    • Brian says:

      Yes, Dussmann is a good store that also has an excellent selection of jazz, pop, books, films and even musical scores, but I find the classical CD department overpriced and service there extremely poor.

      I once bought a 3-CD box set of Rostropovich’s Boris Godunov there, only to come home and find CD 2 was a Händel opera, also on Erato. The CDs looked alike and someone had obviously got them mixed up. In any normal store, staff would apologize and rectify their error immediately, but in this case I got a mixture of arrogance, “how dare he pester us” and “caveat emptor”.

      Then again, customers in Germany should be used to being treated like annoying gits who had better leave sales staff alone. Or else.

      Saturn in Cologne used to be a reference in Europe for classical music, especially in the vinyl days. Has anyone seen it recently? Sad, so sad…

  • Michael Endres says:

    Saturn in Cologne is now only a shadow of its former glory. Maybe a fifth left of its old selection at most. It used to have a truly gigantic selection of classical CDs.At some stage I remember they claimed that they had the entire so called ” Bielefelder catalogue ” in stock and I believe that wasn’t far from the truth.I spent an absolute fortune there,but it was fantastic fun and you could even listen to most CDs as they had loaded them into a database and had headphones available all over the place. Golden days ,and not even that long ago.

    But good news about Foyles. My hotel right now is just a few hundred yards away from it,so I will definitely go there tomorrow !! I wish them the best of luck and lots of customers !

  • Michael Hurshell says:

    Sorry you had a bad time there Brian. I myself only pop in there when we visit Berlin and I have some extra time, but usually my experience was good – competent people, friendly and well informed about whatever I was looking for etc. (Next time you have encounter such ridiculous behavior, try “Ich möchte mit Ihrem Vorgesetzten sprechen.”)