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Page 3 Profile: David Ford, bookseller

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them…

Wise words indeed, and a sentiment that bibliophile David Ford of Saltaire, West Yorkshire, will no doubt share. When Mr Ford, owner of an independent second-hand bookstore, found sales grinding to a halt he made it his mission to attract more customers and keep the business afloat.

Don’t people all buy books from online mega-retailers these days?

Perhaps. But for many book lovers – and those fond of leaving the confines of their own homes once in a while – perusing the shelves of an independent book shop is a pleasure not a chore.

But the internet does have its uses.

Yes, as Mr Ford has discovered. He’s been harnessing the power of social networking to urge local people to shop at the Saltaire Bookshop, warning that without their custom the store faces closure. Posting on the shop’s Facebook page he wrote: “Urgent! We need customers. Yesterday the shop took £7.50 ... It’s clear this can’t keep going on like this and there is a serious question mark over the future of the shop… There is only one way to keep the shop alive with its current hours, or indeed alive at all – buy books. One-a-year from every resident of Saltaire might just do it.”

An admirable sentiment, has it worked?

Well, it seems Mr Ford, who is also the chairman of the Saltaire Traders Association, and a founder of a ‘Totally Locally’ committee which promotes local trade, is getting the business back on track. He’s seen an astonishing 400 per cent increase in profits as droves of customers have descended on store to show their support.

Ah Bless. All’s well that ends well then?

If you want a happy ending that depends, of course, on where you stop your story…

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