Business & Entrepreneurs

Mail orders keep pages turning at one of Glasgow’s last independent bookshops

By Ian Marland at

Well, at least one positive has come of COVID-19: most people have had a lot more time to read.

And Hyndland Bookshop has managed to keep its customers supplied with words amid the crisis.

Like many businesses, the Hyndland Road shop has been closed to walk-in customers since late March.

Hyndland Bookshop

Hyndland Bookshop is closed to walk-in customers but remains open for orders.

But owners David and Cathy Kinnear are surviving the exceptional times by adopting a temporary business model – mail order.

While a number of secondhand book shops exist, Hyndland Bookshop is one of last independent sellers of exclusively new books and latest titles in Glasgow.

David spoke this week to Glasgow West End Today about business life under lockdown.

He said: “We have been really busy with mail order – just by having a couple of posters in the window.

“Alison, our assistant, set up Twitter and Facebook for us, which we had never got round to doing.

‘Pretty hectic’

“A few people have come to us from that, then there has been word-of-mouth which is a good thing for a village like Hyndland.

“It’s been pretty hectic. There’s a lot more admin with mail order and that’s kept us busy.

“Obviously we haven’t taken anything like the amount of revenue as you would in the shop.

“But we have had people coming from all over Glasgow, which is good.”

David Kinnear

David Kinnear and Max the dog.

The business has been grateful to its suppliers which have kept open, and to its landlord who has helped out.

An emergency business support grant is pending and one member of staff has been furloughed.

David hopes both measures will keep the business, which has been trading on Hyndland Road for more than 20 years, able to reopen when restrictions ease.

It may be that book shops, in a way, fair better than a lot of other sectors of the economy.

‘Obviously we haven’t taken anything like the amount of revenue as you would in the shop.

‘But we have had people coming from all over Glasgow, which is good’

David Kinnear 

After all, a lot of us are spending more time at home when other forms of entertainment are in short supply.

David: “I think the book trade in general, and in a way sad to say, will do very well.

“If you think about it, there are going to be few forms of entertainment for quite a number of months.

“With no cinemas, theatres, concerts, pubs, restaurants – what can people do for entertainment?

Hyndland Bookshop front

The bookshop has been trading on Hyndland Road for more than 20 years.

“Books, television, and maybe hobbies will be the only things people have.

“Certainly, the book trade should be, if not buoyant, certainly OK, I should think.”

David and Cathy are working from home in Kilsyth during the pandemic.

Before the world turned upside down, they had been enjoying more time to themselves.

‘Furloughed’

Hiring an assistant had meant they could reduce their hours to four days a week in what David wryly calls ‘semi-retirement’.

But the couple are working six days a week in lockdown.

“We are putting in more hours, because Alison is furloughed.

“We were working four days a week and we had cut down our time a tiny little bit.

Hyndland Bookshop inside

David and Cathy are working six days a week to cover customers’ orders.

“But we are now six days a week, even though orders come in all the time.

“We said we would just close on a Sunday – so we could get a day off.”

Customers will be looking forward to when they can return to the shop and browse the shelves for their next read.

Let’s hope that day is not too far away.

* Hyndland Bookshop is taking orders on 07484 024614 or email hyndlandbooks@gmail.com

FOOTNOTE: Since publication, the headline has been corrected to reflect that Hyndland Bookshop is one of the last independent bookshops in Glasgow. We are unable to edit the link on Facebook.