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The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made It Happen

As a record shop owner, I am always looking at the ways that I can develop the business and recently had the pleasure of discovering "The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made It Happen", which is a fantastic read, written by long-time record company rep, Graham Jones. This is Graham's third book, published in 2018, in response to the vinyl revival that has taken place over the last few years. He has written another, which I am yet to read, basically covering the demise of the industry, published back in 2009, titled "The Last Shop Standing - Whatever Happened To Record Shops?" 

Graham has been working in the record business for around 35 years and claims to have visited more record shops than any other human. "The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made It Happen" explains how more than a hundred independent record shops opened between 2009 and 2018. It tells the story through the comments and anecdotes of the owners and staff that made the revival happen. 

The book explores how Record Store Day, introduced to the UK in 2009 has helped many independent record shops survive and thrive. The first part of the book explains the historic reasons for the decline of the independent record shop, including a tax loophole introduced in the 1990's saw a number of companies set up in the Channel Islands, where they were able to benefit from VAT exemption on selling low cost items, therefore undercutting UK based companies by up to 20%.

The CD revolution, file-sharing and downloading, the involvement of Amazon and the supermarkets have all had a devastating effect on the sales of vinyl records and the survival of independent record shops. This in turn led to experienced company sales representatives being made redundant and the closure of shops, leading to the experienced shop owners having to find other ways to make a living.

The book has a very informative section on how to open a record shop, which has given me some great insight into what I can do to improve my business (more on that will be covered in forthcoming blogs). The majority of the book focuses on the Shops That Made It Happen. It is set out into the counties of the UK featuring all the independents that existed a couple of years ago. So this is an essential guide that all vinyl record enthusiasts should use to discover record shops when on their travels. One or two have closed since the book was published, but many more have opened, including my own shop Strummer Room Records in Banbury. Each entry provides the address and contact detail, social media tags, (normal) opening hours, when they were established and a guide to what they stock. The entry also includes some information on the owners and staff and some anecdotes from each store.

All-in-all an essential book for any one with an interest in vinyl records. There is also a film (based on the book).

The book can be found at the usual book-selling channels and the film can be found here: https://www.thevinylrevivalfilm.com