Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the rest is silence?

As I'm not really one for writing I've done one piece to stand as handout,blog or poster- this is what we are handing out in the store...

“A beautiful little bookshop’

The Pan Bookshop – A Personal Note of Thanks from the Staff

You may have heard the sad news that The Pan Bookshop is to shut up shop at the end of January. The shop will be a great loss to many – not least to our customers for whom Pan had become part of their lives, authors local, national and international, the publishing and media worlds who have supported us and of course the staff who are now thinking ‘what next’.

We wanted to thank everyone who has supported the shop. We will all miss you all and the books, the reps, the building (well, not the staffroom or toilet- have you seen them!!), the coming in everyday to work at a place you enjoy being in and know is appreciated. At 5 years I’m still a newcomer to the store and I wish I’d been here for some of it’s earlier, rich, history such as readings
from Raymond Carver, Philip Roth delivering his manuscript upstairs or the time when, allegedly, a former manager spread-eagled herself across the door and refused to let anyone leave until they’d purchased something- now that’s bookselling!

There are three questions that I have been asked a lot over the last few days and wanted to provide an answer to. Can it be saved? What are we (the staff) going to do? And, what can our customers do?

I’m afraid that, as it is, The Pan Bookshop cannot be saved. Our overheads really are very, very large and decisions have been made which I do not think will be reversed.

Just two days after our news, however, we learnt Waterstone’s Old Brompton Road would also be closing. A double blow to many customers who used both shops but also, perhaps, the creation of a new opportunity.
The departure of two shops within about a quarter of mile of each other does open up opportunities and some of us have begun to look for possible sites and benefactors.

If you would like to write something about us. We would be pleased to hear your comments, reactions, memories, etc. It makes us feel better, part of a community and I hope it helps the person leaving the comment to express their feelings.
It would also serve to underline the very real community backing that this store does have, something that may be useful to us in the future.

We will put all of these messages onto our blog, the address is . If people prefer to send to our e-mail the address for that is or please feel free to write a message, memory etc. onto this piece of paper, hand it back to us, and we will copy it onto our blog.
But the blog is not just to look back – we’ve also had some interesting suggestions as to ‘what next’. If you are interested in keeping an independent retail presence in the area and have specific suggestions or ideas about potential shop sites that may be available please feel free to let us know. The phone number is 0207 373 4997 and speak to me, Julian

Finally, to everyone who has ever supported us as a customer or author or who has worked here- in the words of an immortal Pan author from the, sadly, not to be immortal Pan Bookshop.
‘So long, and thanks for all the fish.’


Anonymous said...

Dear Pan Bookshop

I have been a customer of your store since moving to the Fulham Rd in 1983. In that time I have been impressed by the good service and helpfulness of the staff, but what makes the shop so special id the selection of books. Time and again I have discovered titles in your store that I have never heard of, and certainly would not have found in one of the chains.

This has been very helpful in my career as a Film Producer.

Your strength is not simply in fiction - you also always stock the 'benchmark' titles in sports and travel writing for my leisure reading as well.

I shall miss your shop should it ever close, and, having moved to South Kensington, would lose my reason for visiting that part of the Fulham Rd - so your closure will adversely affect the takings at the nearby cinemas, coffee shops, and delis as well.

Good luck in your bid to fight closure, please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Best Regards


Anonymous said...

Dear All at the Pan Bookshop,

As must be so many people, I am in a state of shock in re the impending closure of the bookshop, which I have known (and loved) ever since it was first set up.

This has been a dreadful month for bookshop closures. First you, then Waterstone's in Old Brompton Road, then Geraldine Waddington, an antiquarian bookshop in Oundle, Northants. Proof positive that the wold is going to hell in a handcart!

My warmest wishes to everyone. If any of you are in need of a reference, please feel free to add me to your list of referees.

The very best of luck for future endeavours,

Patrick J-S

Anonymous said...

I hear you might be closing in January. This is very sad we love the shop and the people that work in the store. It is such an important feature and part of all the Chelsea residents lives.
Let me know whether you need any further support to try and stop the closure of the shop.


Anonymous said...

The Pan Book Shop is a much loved neighborhood institution adored by people of all ages and its closure would be a tremendous loss. What else can we do to stop the closure?

Anonymous said...

Frankly I can’t believe the news. It will be like loosing an old friend.

Let me know if there is anything we can do to save this wonderful asset.


Anonymous said...

I have been coming to buy books from you ever since I moved to Tregunter Road seventeen years ago. Is there anything that I can do to prevent your being closed down. You are the real gem in this part of Chelsea and would be sorely missed if you were replaced by yet another food store…..

Best supportive wishes

Edwina Sassoon

Anonymous said...

We are so distressed to hear that you may be closing- we hope that your
owner will realise the importance of Pan to the local life of the
community and will reverse it's plan to lease out to yet another (high
priced) deli. I live in the neighbourhood and have long been a patron of
the shop and support its continuance, as a plus in the quality of life
along that strip of the Fulham Rd. I hope that your owner will consider
the actual needs and interests of the local community, and not allow an
important service to disappear.
Kind regards,
Patricia Pope

Anonymous said...

What a tragedy that the shop is to close. It is an amazing local
and the diversity it brings to what is available to local residents is
preferable to yet another food shop.

Sarah Sassoon

Anonymous said...

I have lived in this area for over thirty years and have consistently
and enjoyed your shop.

Were it to close it would be a sad loss to the Fulham Road, to this
and a real sorrow to lose yet another shop which gives the area class
character. It seems that any of the shops and restaurants which give
something to the area are just ignored in favour of boring chains.
kind of place would this be without a bookshop?

Please do everything to stop this sad loss happening

D E Goldberg

Anonymous said...

have just heard about the proposed closure of your bookstore on the Fulham Road and am very upset. I often come in to buy books and cards and will sorely miss your store if it does indeed close. Is the final decision taken? Can you pass my email on to anyone in your management who may review the decision? I know that not only my household but my neighbours too are aghast at the news that we may lose such a good bookstore.

Kind regards,

Erica Coope

Anonymous said...

Please don't close the Pan Bookshop! It is one of the nicest
bookstores is London, and definitely one of the best features of the
neighborhood. I know lots of friends who travel cross London to visit
your shop! It is irreplaceable!!!

Jiwon Lee Brunnstrom

Anonymous said...

To all the wonderful staff at Pan Bookshop,

I have learned with great distress that Pan is to close in January. I have lived in the neighbourhood for over 12 years and frequent Pan weekly. Pan provides the neighbourhood with unique character and its closure will be a huge loss to the Fulham Road. Please let me know if I can do anything to be of assistance.

Best regards,

Betsy Garrett

Anonymous said...

I have heard the news about a possible closure of the Pan Book Shop.
I am disappointed and angry at this. As usual it's all to do with high costs and not enough profits etc, and possibly a good offer from yet another food store or restaurant. As if we needed more of that.
What we (the local community) need, is a book shop.
We already have the Pan Bookshop and we want to keep it.


Anonymous said...

The idea of Pan Bookstore closing is catastrophic for anybody who loves books. I have always found lots of small imprints that were unknown in other bookstores here, and my husband (not a big reader) has bought stacks of signed first editions. I’ve bought all our young relatives and god-children books here; their first copies of Beatrix Potter and The Little Prince have come from Pan, as well as signed editions of Marcus Sedgewick’s and Lian Hearn’s books. Whenever I’ve asked for a recommendation, the advice has always been perfect and I have stacks of notes from children saying, please send me the next in the series, I loved that book. I sometimes come in with a vague idea of a book I’m not even sure exists, asked about it, and been told, oh yes, The Ice Museum, we have a copy right here. Pan has been a huge part of my life since we moved to the area 10 years ago. We live in Parsons Green and walk up to Pan two or three times every week. There is a Waterstones and a Borders closer, but we never go there, as Pan is so much better. It’s not just the choice of books, it’s also the atmosphere and the staff, who are amazingly knowledgeable and helpful. When we found out Pan was to close, I told my husband we’d now have to move; but where? John Daunt in Marylebone is good, but not as good as Pan, and the new John Daunt in Holland Park is very disappointing. John Sandoe has wonderful books, but they can be impossible to find as it’s so small and crowded. Foyle’s, Blackwells, and Waterstones in Piccadilly are exhausting and don’t offer the eclecticism of Pan, and though Hatchards is very beautiful and elegant, it carries best sellers to the exclusion of more interesting small publishers. The first time I ever saw a Hesperus edition was at Pan, as well as NYRB editions, Pushkin Press, and so many others. Nothing can replace Pan, where I’ve found so many treasures over the years.

If the staff do move to another location, please do let me know, as I will go anywhere in London to any bookstore they are running.

Thank you for providing so many years of profound happiness with the experience of spending time in Pan.

Anonymous said...

The Pan book shop is the best thing in Fulham Road. There is no other bookshop like it and it will be such a shame to see it go. The stock and the staff are all brilliant and it has provided me and my family over the years with some wonderful books.
I hope Macmillan see sense,
Best wishes Judy Afia

Anonymous said...

Dear Sirs,
I am appalled by the news that the Pan Bookshop is closing down. I have lived a few blocks away for 25 years and have
used it constantly, and grown to love it for many reasons: the wide range of books, the helpful and intelligent staff, the
premises which are so roomy and enticing, and many more.

As the Food Editor of Vogue for 17 years, and author of 14 books about food, and a founder member of the Guild of
Food Writers, and a member of the Society of Authors, I have spent a lot of my life in bookshops, and this is my favourite.
I shall feel lost without it, and the possibility of yet another food shop doesn't compensate.
Yours sincerely, Arabella Boxer

Anonymous said...

On wondering into The Pan Bookshop this weekend I was informed of its imminent closure. This is terribly sad given the fact that it is one of the last few bookshops that employs people who actually take an interest in its stock as well as read pretty much all of it. Whether I feel like a light read, something a bit meatier or a travel book I have been advised amazingly. In many ways I attribute the wealth of my reading to The Pan Bookshop’s employees.

I realise as they do that petitions and e-mails are not likely to make a vast difference but it will be a huge huge loss to the Fulham Road and all the people that use it. The Fulham Road and much of our area are suffering the same fate as all High Streets where Tesco and Starbucks dominate. The Pan Bookshop is one of the things keeping its individuality and also saving us from having to go to Waterstone’s where I doubt any of the employees have even read a book.

Please don’t give up this shop.

Kind regards


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wanted to say how sorry I am to hear that the bookshop is being closed in order to put yet ANOTHER food-shop in its place. I am a resident of the area and the Pan Bookshop is not only a fabulous independent bookshop with an extremely knowledgeable and helpful staff, but also a well loved institution.

I have written an email to Macmillan to express my sorrow at this development, but in the meantime if there is anything that any of us residents can do to help then let me know.

Kind regards,

Lucy Legh

Anonymous said...

How sad that the best family bookshop in London is closing. Thanks for all the great reading over almost 20 years!

Best regards

The Maloney Family

Anonymous said...

Dear Pan Bookshop,

Please do not close! You are not only a beacon of civilization in the desert of pricey burger bars, but a an absolutely first rate bookshop.

Please do not close!

Kind regards,


Anonymous said...

Dear Pan,

Having lived in and around the area for about 20 years I am heartbroken that you are under threat. You are among the last of the bookshops where there is a true commitment to books, where every member of staff is interested and willing to find esoteric ones or help with choosing Christmas presents for children. A bookshop where browsing is a delight.

If there is a mailing campaign or anything that can be done, I will help.

Karina Robinson

Anonymous said...

It is very sad that Pan bookshop is closing. It was probably the only decent bookshop left in south west London. Although it is not my neighbourhood bookshop, I have been visiting it regularly for years. I will miss it...

Anonymous said...

I would not have believed my ears were it not for the reaction that rippled through my fellow shoppers. Shock, distress, even constrained anger. Pan Bookshop is to close. Inside me arose a sad sense of inevitability. Whenever I have crossed the threshold of Pan Bookshop I have marvelled that one of the truly good things in life prevailed. Right around the corner from my home is this haven filled with books, and not just any books.The most wondrous assortment of books, reflecting the knowledge and tastes of the people who run the shop - people who care about books - and, I surmised, reflecting the sensibilities of a loyal and eclectic clientele. The Pan Bookshop is one of those ever rarer apparitions; a shop with spirit. As opposed to the book-supermarket feel of a Waterstones, Pan is somehow a manifestation of the personalities, of the reading minds, of its patrons and its caretakers. Somehow, I feel I enter a community when I enter Pan, of writers and readers.

Pan is my preferred bookshop in London, and not just because it is around the corner, which is of course a delight; I spurn Hatchards and Waterstones Piccadilly, both near my office. At Pan, I can enter with my list, often garbled, illegible, vague or even inaccurate scribbles of references I have picked up along the way, and within two ticks one of the staff have alighted upon the trail. Often, to my astonishment, because I do not consider myself a mainstream reader, the person will bound off into the landscape of books and return with a copy in hand. Somehow, at Pan my reading habits seem less eccentric. An example is when, after seeing the film The Libertine, I wandered in, on the off chance that I might find a biography of the 2nd Earl of Rochester. It was a poor lead I gave the young man behind the counter, but he lit up, and trailing erudition, "John Wilmot...yes, he is mostly known for his bawdy verse, but actually was one of the most skilled Restoration poets..." led me to a cosy corner and handed me a couple of biographies, then darted off to another section to retrieve a collection or two of his writings. No where else - and then in my own Chelsea.

The closing of Pan Bookshop is a travesty. It is not at all my style, but I would picket, I will refuse to step foot in whatever shop might replace it - heavens forbid another Carluccio or Starbucks or bar serving caperinias - I would launch a hunger strike if I thought it would do any good. Which leads me to ask what I can see many others have asked before me but received no reply to: what, if anything, is there that can be done to reverse this situation? What exactly was not working? The rent was to high? The shop needs to make more money? What would it take? Can the owners perhaps work with the patrons/community to find a solution? Can we be creative about this? Have Macmillan explored how the revenues might be increased? Have they talked to their customers? Can we have a dialogue? Who can answer these questions?

Realistically, it is perhaps unavoidable that profits should drive the changing landscape of the Fulham Road. But with the passing of this Pan, I do fear the loss of something irretrievable. Is there aught to do but echo Plutarch?

Janet Larsen

Fran said...

I learned today that your imminent demise follows your landlord's acceptance of an offer he or she couldn't refuse from ..... a grocer.

A grocer, I ask you?!?!?!!!

As if the Fulham Road isn't already stuffed to the gills with grocers wanting to sell us food for our stomachs when what we so often need is food for our minds, which you have so ably provided with such quality and quantity for so many years.

I have to hope now that - perhaps by combining your strengths and resources with those of Waterstones, who are also being forced to shut up shop locally - you may be able to find some premises nearby where you can establish a new centre of book-selling excellence.

There's no doubt it is needed, and that it would be well-patronised.

Good luck. You - and we - will need it!


LEE HILL said...

Very sad to hear Pan bookshop will be no more. As a former part timer, I enjoyed the highs and lows of bookselling, the rare ability to pick my hours to accomodate the weird hours of my f/t gigs and freelancing and getting to know a fascinating and fun bunch of people. I love books, but staff and customers sustain a great bookshop. Pan was luck enough to have those for a considerable time. As platitudinous as it sounds, I sincerely wish my friends and colleagues at Pan the best of success at whatever they decide to do in the future - whether it is more bookselling, gardening, keeping the revolution going, etc.

Lee Hill

Suki said...

i keep on walking in and wandering around, thinking that if i come back again & stay longer i can stretch out the time you are still open.

it feels like we're picking your bones by buying books at 1/2 price..

i'm sorry i ever bought from amazon - it's contributed to your closure.

thank you for being open late, before & after movies & everytime in between.

a community falling to dust..

Tiggy Salt said...

Dearest Pan

This tragic news has rattle us all. I can't believe that after all these years dedicated to the selling of wonderful books, a staggering rent review is going to come along and sweep you away. We do not need yet another up-market deli to take your pride of place.

I am exactly the same age as Pan used to work for you under June before the big refit of the shop. It really feels as thought a very important part of my life has gone.

Please let us know what we can all to help.

Tiggy Salt

Anonymous said...

Dear Pan Bookshop, I am deeply saddened to hear that you have had to close up. Your bookshop was always my favourite haunt when I was living in London, and when I moved to South America it was one of my "first stops" of visits in between seeing family and friends and stocking up on teas and M&S etc. I chose books there that I never could in other bookshops, and I loved the slightly detached but friendly and knowledgeable staff who were so incredibly helpful. Sure Amazon may be cheaper but nothing beat the experience of walking out of the Pan Bookshop with a bag full of film-wrapped hardcover releases often expertly recommeded by the staff. It is a great loss.

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