The Last Bookshop

The Last Bookshop

>>SHOPKEEPER: “There have always been stories.
Ever since the earliest days. I suppose in the beginning, rather than holographic
colour and noise, stories were more like dreams spoken aloud. They were bison on cave walls. And campfire myths of how the world was born. Those verbal stories: that’s where it must all have begun. They were magic! They were alive! But being alive, they also had to die. They vanished with the breath of the storyteller. To be reincarnated. Evolving, mutating with each re-telling. Until eventually, the original stories were
lost forever.”>>BOY: Mum! Mum!? [music]>>SHOPKEEPER: Ah! You’re here at last! It’s alright. Don’t be frightened. Is this what you were after? Go on! No, look. Isn’t it wonderful? I started to worry that you’d never come. Every morning I open the shop full of hope,
but in vain. At closing time, I bring all the books in
from the empty street. Take down the awning. Telling myself: maybe
tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow he’ll arrive.>>BOY: Who?>>SHOPKEEPER: You!>>BOY: Me?>>SHOPKEEPER: Yes. You, sir. You are my first customer in 25 years, 2 months
and 6 days. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.>>BOY: What’s a customer?>>SHOPKEEPER: It’s like when you buy things
on a computer. Only better! You get to come here. See the books. Touch them, and smell them. [Boy sniffs, coughs]>>SHOPKEEPER: Old books. Nothing like it! E Nesbit seems to have the best bouquet, I
think. Though I found some heady Brontës the other
day, in a box with some old pipe tobacco. You should catch a whiff of it. It’ll knock your socks off!>>BOY: Is this a story?>>SHOPKEEPER: Oh yes.>>BOY: Well what else does it do?>>SHOPKEEPER: Do? Do? It’s a book! It paints pictures in your head! It gives you memories of things you will never
experience. Look, the only way you will ever find out, is to explore for yourself. Be my guest. You can read whatever you like! Would you like that? “After much archaeology of my shelves, he went home with Kenneth Graham, Richmal Crompton, a Beano annual, and a whole host of treasures besides. I almost envied him, discovering them for the first time. After 25 years of waiting, my books had a new reader at last.”>>BOY: In the old days, did everyone used
to read books?>>SHOPKEEPER: As a lad we all queued up at
midnight, for a book about a wizard. It was the vogue. [music]>>SHOPKEEPER: “I imagined him poring over
every page. Engrossed in the characters and the illustrations. Falling in love with books. Just as I had done at his age. I suppose it was naive, to have expected him to come back the very next day. He’d never read a single book before. Let alone a whole pile. But as the days turned into weeks, I started to wonder if I had simply dreamt
him. Was the boy a phantom? Prophesying my fall into madness? Would I soon have a shop teeming with fictional
customers!? [clock chimes] If I were to die, what would happen to my books? Would I be found rotting among them? Or would no-one come? Would the walls crumble, and the roof cave in on me, until the rain dissolved each volume, and my bones drowned, in a sea of papier-mâché? The meaning washed away with ink. The books growing back into a forest. The boy wasn’t coming back was he? I was saving the book for no-one.”>>BOY: Hello! Hello!? Can I read some more books please? “To dear Stuart, with best wishes, from Mother and Father.” What happened to them? Where’s Stuart now?>>SHOPKEEPER: They’re long gone. That book was unwrapped on a Christmas morning, long before even my grandfather was born. The world was a different place then.>>BOY: How did it end up here?>>SHOPKEEPER: My books are not second hand
at all. They are fifth or sixth hand, you know. In the old days, when someone died, I might be donated a whole cardboard box full. That was when everyone had books in their
house. Nowadays the attics and alcoves of England
are bare. Even the elderly don’t seem to leave books
behind any more.>>BOY: What happened to the other bookshops?>>SHOPKEEPER: There aren’t any. Oh, there used to be a whole network of us. But they all went out of business. Or passed away. Now it’s just me. And as for the books, well, this is the lot! For a time, I was able to raid skips and wheely
bins for new stock. But, ah, that all dried up.>>BOY: Oh! What’s this?>>SHOPKEEPER: I think you’ve found an old
banknote.>>BOY: “I promise to pay the bearer, on demand, the sum of Five Pounds.”>>SHOPKEEPER: Ha, yeh, it’s a funny thing, but banknotes weren’t real money. They were sort of, um, promissory notes, from the King. And before that, the Queen. Though I don’t think she ever coughed up.>>BOY: What’s “money”?>>SHOPKEEPER: When you wanted to buy a book, or anything else for that matter, rather than tapping numbers into a computer, you gave the shopkeeper some of these.>>BOY: As a swap?>>SHOPKEEPER: Yes, if you like.>>BOY: Couldn’t you read any of the books
for free?>>SHOPKEEPER: You could borrow books, from a place called a library. That was before they were all shut down. You know, for a while, there were electronic
books. You could buy or rent any text. Remarkable things. They were all the rage
for years. I had one. Little plastic tablet and a touch
screen. Looked like the real thing. E-ink I think
they called it. Died out of course. What’s the use of a pretend book if nobody
knows what a real one is? Might as well have a pretend mangle.>>BOY: What’s a mangle?>>SHOPKEEPER: Exactly! I think I may have some old American money
somewhere, let me think…>>BOY: What did the shopkeepers do with the
money they were given?>>SHOPKEEPER: Oh, they put it in the till, and swapped it in return for gas and electricity… I must see if I can find those dollars for
you to see.>>COMPUTER VOICE: GamaZone thanks you for
your purchase!>>SHOPKEEPER: What happened!?>>BOY: I was paying for the books I took, like in the old days.>>SHOPKEEPER: No, no, no! As long as money didn’t change hands, they turned a blind eye to me. I knew I should have thrown that old thing
out years ago!>>BOY: Have I done something wrong? I’m sorry!>>SHOPKEEPER: You have to leave. Come on. You need to go home and forget all about this.>>BOY: Why!?>>SHOPKEEPER: Every line, every word, written
in this shop, is copyright of the GamaZone Corporation! They seized the rights to everything years
ago! There was no opting out. This whole shop is a massive copyright infringement! I’m not allowed to sell any of it.>>BOY: I don’t understand!>>SHOPKEEPER: You be a good boy and go home. I’ve got to shut up the shop for the night. “There have always been stories… And there always will be… This was the story I wanted to tell, but there are no books left in which to tell

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  1. I love books, I will forever love books. I love the smell of new books, especially old ones. I love the feel of books, the pages, the plastic wrapping around some of them. The way I can take the cover off hardbacks and the gold imprint title font I can feel and also love the anger I have when I accidently rip a page or get stains on them. This video is brilliant in showing the different generations interests and knowledge, I would like to think that books will live on forever but we don't know.

  2. Loved this! It was acted so well and I loved the narration. It hit close to home since I work in a library and see people turning to computers and the movie shelf rather than books when they come in.

  3. It's weird to think that the young actor in this short could end up being the old bookstore owner in the plausible future

  4. I visit homes to appraise estates. I am always sad when the only writing is found on the boxes containing food or detergents.

  5. Brought me back to my youthful days spending hours in many bookshops that looked the same as the one in the film. Many of those shops were on Fourth Ave. in NYC and all but Strand are gone now. I do so enjoy books and continue to add to my collection/accumulation. The look, feel and smell of old books still makes me smile inside. I enjoyed the credits at the end of the film, using the format and margins from old books. Oh, and I use one of many fountain pens I own to write with daily.

  6. Well, people loved their vinyl, too. Ebooks aren’t more popular than physical books because the price point is wrong for mass adoption. Ebooks are largely priced between hardback and paperback prices, which isn’t where most of the sales are. If the prices dropped, ebooks would take off.

  7. As a former bookstore owner, I found the last line of the piece to be rather chilling and a little ironic.

    The idea that one company can own all the copyrights is a little concerning too, considering the way that Disney seems intent on buying up everything at the moment, and their litigation against other companies that make fairytale based films as they claim it infringes their work.

  8. Well done mate, the trivia is absolutely wonderful, directing is nice as well, but I wonder – what camera did you use? Was it Redcam, or even a Canon?

  9. Nice choice of lenses in this case! I will wait for your next shorts! If you will need any kind of VFX in your movies – feel free to contact with me via youtube.

  10. very funny.. best comeback I've heard in awhile! Yes, all books deserve saving. They, like us, no matter how wretched, should continue to exist and need protection, proper dusting and shelving. hehe On a separate note, I am not religious 😉

  11. i don't really get the reason why the boy had to leave though…cos of 'Gamazon' or whoever they are??

  12. That's right. The Shopkeeper knows more about this world, and GamaZone's place in it than either the boy or the audience. The Shopkeeper feared that something bad would happen as a result of the illegal transaction (the GamaZone till has a connection to the Shopkeeper's online credit account) and he was evidently right to fear the worst, because the shop is soon closed, and has GamaZone logos on the door's windows. The real question is what happens now to the Shopkeeper…

  13. I'm pretty sure your tongue must be in your cheek. But…

    As I've said elsewhere, this is a work of satirical fantasy, not a realist film. You are supposed to laugh at the idea of a shop having no customers for 25 years. It's an exaggerated satirical signifier for the concept of bookshops losing custom in the real world. A deadpan joke.

    Feel free to come up with your own explanation if it ruins your suspension of disbelief, but… you were joking, right?

  14. Interesting thought around 14:30 – "What's the use of a pretend book if no one knows what a real one is?"

  15. Thank you, glad you liked it!

    The bookshop is, in reality, 6 different shops. A guide to their locations can be found by clicking 'Shop Locations' at

    But you are quite right: the externals of the shop were filmed outside the splendid Hall's Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells.

  16. i wish they'd make a full length movie out of this. it's be interesting to see what develops next, and give us a glimpse of the world as it is here 🙂

  17. Pour tous ceux qui ont encore la culture du livre…

    For all those which still have the culture of the book…

  18. "As a lad we all queued up at midnight for a book about a wizard, it was the vogue." My favourite line in this short film. Brought back a flood of memories. This was a delight to watch.

  19. Brilliant as this was the first day in months I've started a new book. I miss sharing my love of books with friends, I miss dreaming. Maybe I need different friends. Anyway, Thank you for sharing this beauty

  20. "It's a book, it paints pictures in your head". Yes, this is exactly what a book does! Thanks for this beautiful film, it was very moving.

  21. This is probably the best thing ever, and I really appreciate all the work that went into it. I'm happy to report that my 19 year old nephew can't stand 'e-books,' doesn't really care for new books–but loves old books, and used bookstores. I'll be visiting the brother and family over the week of 4th of July, and I've already bought her 'The Wind in the Willows' and 'Winnie-the-Pooh.' Again, thanks so much for this vid!

  22. i am now about as old as the shopkeeper and i see the tale coming to fruition probably more here in my country than in yours even. all my life i have wanted to have a used bookstore for the very reason that grows in the boy's eyes. i customer a year would still be just fine. i live on pension so i obviously have no need of money myself. an excellent story

  23. A few weeks ago I tried to use my girlfriend's supermarket club card to pay for some shopping (we have a joint account, with 2 separate cards) and the staff wouldn't allow me to. They said I might have stolen the card, and were unable to confirm that I shared the account. Instead, I paid with a £10 note.

    The cashier didn't care where I got the £10 from. I could've mugged an old lady for all they knew.

    The moral I choose to take from this is that physical money belongs to whoever is holding it.

  24. Two absolute classics. Winnie the Pooh is hilarious and joyous (if one can manage to put the charmless exploitation by Disney out of mind) and The Wind in The Willows is just wonderful. E-books are fine, but they are no replacement for the physical object.

    Thanks for stopping by and enjoying our film. You're right btw – it was 2 years of hard work! Made worthwhile if people enjoy watching 🙂

  25. Thank you for your thoughts. Do you mind me asking: why do you consider bookshops/books to be even more endangered in your own country (Canada?) than elsewhere? It's interesting to hear about how the situation differs in different countries, and I don't know much about Canada. For instance, I was recently told that New Zealand has thriving bookshops, but I have no idea if this is true.

  26. I think because we are so close to the USA particularly in tech-love and mentality. the obsession with e-gadgets is a diversion to great for us to resist. books a slow enveloping things that demand a mutual absorption. this is much to much a commitment from our young people who live for the next moment. people my age no longer carry the respect needed to be role models. we are as superfluous as Windows 7. it is my guess that the American influence through TV and Movies is too direct to fight off

  27. I see. Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts lhommedevideo. I hope that there might be many Canadian youngsters who do not shun books, and who do respect their elders, but who unfortunately might be less visible to you for one reason or another. However, this is just my hope, as I have no experience of Canada either way.

    Also, I love the phrase "as superfluous as Windows 7." I hope it becomes common, so that centuries from now bemused historians debate its origin.

  28. Ha ha! I wasn't really being sarcastic to you, more agreeing that imagining ways in which the Shopkeeper's lifestyle might be explained away are actually quite simple, and shouldn't detract from the story.

    As for your comments on the Shopkeeper's lending strategy: I agree! His excitement at the arrival of a customer lead him to lose perspective, so he gets over-eager to give the books away and impatient for the boy to return. At least he admits: "I suppose it was naive…"

  29. It is sad to even consider that one day books will loose its relevance.I still can remember the first time my mother gave me a book – that was the best day of my life and I have yet to stop reading since then no matter how much life gets in the way. There was always something to read and lining up from midnight just to get a copy of Harry Potter was certainly a favourite past time. It would be a shame that if future generation cannot share the excitement that only a book can give.

  30. With 3D printers still in their infancy and print on demand already being used extensively, I don't see why the future can't have us getting print format "blue-print-files" include with an ebook purchase–or free download with Public Domain and Creative Commons works–that allows us to literally print our books in our homes.

  31. Nice idea. Have you seen the Van Gogh 3D prints developed by the museum in Amsterdam? For £22,000 you can buy a replica painting that mimics all the sculptural details of Van Gogh's oils.
    I wouldn't mind knocking up a beautiful 3D replica of a first edition Wind in the Willows! The real future will probably end up being far weirder than any of us can imagine…

  32. I weeped like a baby. What a beautifully simplistic story. And this quote, "When I was a lad, we all queued up at midnight for a book about a wizard. It was the vogue." <3

    oooohhh bookshops cannot become instinct. This is the reason why I refuse to turn over to ereaders. I WILL NOT.

  33. Such a Magical Tale!
    Let not the world ever tire of books. For if that were to happen…then all the magic in the world…would die with them too…for this is were all magic began.. of every type known, it's magic's home…whether fairy tales in imagination…all would be gone…and if you think of all the bad in the world…with the magic of books gone it truly would be a cold cruel world…imagination would no longer be required…for no outlet it's all expired…computers, televisions, all visual things…don't think without books more food for thought these things…bottom line you'll always need a book to start, to learn new things…written scripts many tips…everything you now know…from a book it came first….books we never out grow…a young child reads from a book imagination free to grow…Miss D

  34. I love that story so much !!^-^♡♡♡
    It's such a beautiful and a sad story at the same time♡:(
    What would we do without books ..♡

  35. I see myself as the old man. Even though I'm a girl. And I'm not old either. But still.. I know the feeling of other people forgetting to read books, in which, is totally unpredictable since books are so much more amazing than internet or the computer or anything else. Books are far more special than that.

  36. Thought provoking and interesting – books can be anything and everything to any person – all that is required is the discovery of the ' right' one – keep searching. THEY ARE OUT THERE -waiting – still!

  37. I loved this! And that HP reference! THIS was magical. I don't even know what I'd do the world didn't have books! Btw I WANT that Hobbit book in hardback 🙂

  38. I literally can't read books on a computer or in a tablet. I can't pass more than 30min in front of the computer reading… I'm young, but it gets me head hakes. With a book I think I could read for an whole afternoon…

  39. Thankfully it looks like ebooks are actually dying, while physical (ie real) books are enjoying a resurgence. Long may it last!

  40. Now preparing a lesson on bookshops for my English class in Japan, and came across this. I used to go to Hall's Bookshop regularly in my teens (it wasn't quite so smart in those days) and found some real bargains. One I still have is  book of seasonal woodcuts by William Nicholson, which I picked up for two and six in old money. I'll be using a clip of this video in my class. I hope that's legal …

  41. This is beautiful. I really love books ever since I was a little child and now i'm a teen. I live in the Cebu Philippines and we don't have a bookstore in our local area. I just wish people could see how lucky they are to have bookstores! We don't even have a public library 🙁 The only library i've ever been is our school library. I hope people won't forget about books.

  42. 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿 Powerful movie. Hope this scenario never becomes a reality. I love books and bookshops!

  43. I love books and book stores. We need more book stores and used book store. I love buying books in a store. Please save all the books.

  44. A few years back, I would try to finish reading a book the whole day/night that when I look at the time it's almost morning which means I have to prepare for work. I would go to work having slept for just an hour but still looking forward to reading more.

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