NEWS that independent bookshops are now ten times as numerous across town centres up and down the UK has been welcomed by the owner of a fixture of Chepstow town centre.

The Guardian reported recently that there are now 1,072 independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland, after the industry enjoyed a sixth consecutive year of growth, according to the Booksellers Association (BA).

The resurgence, the Guardian said, followed a 20-year losing streak in which bookshop numbers sank to 867 in 2016.

However, things look to be on the up, with the owner of Chepstow Books & Gifts offering a potential reason why.

Home working and the return to small towns from the city workplace has meant many of us have had to visit our local town centres for a lunchtime snack.

"The rise in home working Chepstow makes an ideal place to live and a lunchtime walk by the river and castle with a pop into the bookshop and a coffee from one of the many cafes a perfect way to break up your day," Matt Taylor said.

"It is great news and we are so pleased to be part of a growing sector of the retail economy, one which brings so much to the town centres they are in.

"I’ve been running Chepstow Bookshop now for eighteen years and the bookshop has seen lots of challenges and opportunities along the way but have always been supported by an amazing local community.

"We’ve come through a major recession and Covid and punched above our weight with huge author signings such as Sir David Attenborough and Warren Gatland.

"I attended the last Booksellers Association conference (the main industry meet up) in the autumn and it was amazing to see so many new faces who had set up new bookshops across the country with enthusiasm, enterprise and a lot of hard work.

"We remain confident for the future of bookshops with big new releases coming out such as Prince Harry's Spare, more author events at The Drill Hall and our range of books in the shop and on our website."