This content was originally published inside this week’s magazine. Find your local vendor to read more.
Literacy is far from a given for everyone. The Literacy Trust reckon that 7.1 million adults – or 16.4 per cent – in England have poor literacy skills, for Wales it is one in eight adults and in Scotland more than a quarter of adults have been knocked back by an inability to read and write.
It is imperative that people have access to books whatever their income
For those figures to be improved, it is imperative that people have access to books whatever their income, whether through libraries or a visible presence of bookshops in town and cities. But high streets have been hollowed out by the collapse of businesses both big and small, most recently Thomas Cook, leaving vacant units all over the country.
But high streets are more than just a place to stock up on some fast fashion, they are the beating heart of communities, they are the place where people on the fringes of society can go to be socially included and stave off loneliness, they are where Big Issue vendors sell the magazine.
It is vital that independent bookshops continue to be a part of them – and figures suggest they are bucking the trend somewhat.