From now on it will be a lot easier to describe where I’m going, if I’m going into our holiday town to buy books. I’ll be going to the bookshop. There will no longer be two of them, the ‘antique’ names of which I still cling to, in order to tell them apart. Meijels Bokhandel and Larssons Bokhandel.
Now Halmstad Bokhandel (my Meijels) has been declared bankrupt. It has operated under that name for thirty years, and before that it was Meijels for 27 years. Which means that there was a time in my life when that shop on the corner of Brogatan and Hantverksgatan was not a bookshop, but I don’t remember that. (Back in those days we only went to Larssons, where Mother-of-witch had one of her students. The ‘middle Larsson,’ I believe.)
But Meijels is ‘mine,’ because it’s where I once had a holiday job, and it has always been the place I go to first when I needed a book or stationery.
It is obviously a case of death by cyberspace bookshops. While Amazon has barely got its teeth into Sweden, there have been several internet based bookshops, selling books cheaper, and faster.
Apparently the 83-year-old owner of Halmstad Bokhandel has – more recently – worked in the shop himself, along with his two sons, to keep costs down. But they have to eat too.
I don’t mourn just the death of a bookshop. It’s the fact that soon Halmstad will be nothing but pharmacies and bars and kebab places. They are all lovely, of course, but a town needs a bit of normal shopping as well.