I bought a book the other day called Last Shop Standing - Whatever happened to Record Shops ? By Graham Jones.
I'm only half way through reading it so i shouldn't perhaps be reviewing it yet. But it's all very interesting.
However it doesn't seem to be written by someone who Set up and owned a small independent records shop himself. So far as i can see it's taken from the point of view of someone interviewing people who did. And like all people you interview who work in any shop they tell you the salacious stuff and leave out the mundane nitty gritty of trying to stay in business.
For me the hardest part was trying to keep going whilst every record company and his mother tried to sell me every record that has ever been released in every format going. Whilst trying to satisfy the needs of all those potential customers with cash to be had. Graham worked at HMV. But HMV was a multiple as far as i am concerned. A good one i'll grant you that. But a corporate multiple all the same. When you have such buying power you don't have the same financial restraints as a small indie and your whole perspective of selling music is warped. Nothing seems to be said in this book of owners only buying three copies of the most brilliant record you have ever heard because you know that only you will like it and maybe two customers you know you can push it to. Whilst having to purchase a bucket load of absolute shite in the full knowledge that you will sell out within days and it will probably be top 10 next week. That's what working in a record shop was all about. It was like gambling. You have to pay for all that stock so if you buy more than you sell you lose money and if you don't buy enough and you loose as well. Cold hard business wrapped up in your love of music and all the baggage that comes with it.
Perhaps i should add a few of my own stories here at some point. They might not be as glamorous but it would be a bit more realistic. If i ever wrote a book it would be called the 'Life and Death of a record shop'. I started in the 80s and ended my days in 2000 when you buggers started burning your own copies and downloading free from the Internet.
But it's all gone now. Anyone who still owns a record shop nowadays must be mad. Surely they are living on borrowed time ?. But good luck to them i say, if only they could stay there forever.
Anyway this is a recommended read.