World Book Day: Portsmouth shop Pigeon Books faces closure as owner shares business pressures

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A Southsea bookshop, which has been nominated for a prestigious award, could be forced to close after a tough winter.

Pigeon Books, which was launched in 2020 by owners Phil Davies and his wife Mel, is situated at 1 Albert Road in Southsea. The business has been named as an East England regional finalist in this year's Independent Bookshop of the Year awards which will be held in London on May 13 - but Phil fears the shop could be forced to close before then. The cost of living crisis, lower footfall than expected and poor weather have all put a strain on trade in the area.

Pigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure on Wednesday 6th March 2024

Pictured: Owner Phil Davies at Pigeon Books in SouthseaPigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure on Wednesday 6th March 2024

Pictured: Owner Phil Davies at Pigeon Books in Southsea
Pigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure on Wednesday 6th March 2024 Pictured: Owner Phil Davies at Pigeon Books in Southsea | Habibur Rahman

Phil Davies told The News: "To be included in a relatively small selection of independent bookshops in the UK is absolutely a massive boost of confidence. It makes us more determined to make things work and see it through. We've got to this point now - it would be so gutting if we couldn't make things work to see the potential of the big prize itself.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"January was as expected but we hoped things would pick up a little bit in February - but they didn't. February seemed very, very slow. The weather has absolutely made a difference, I think people are less willing to just go out and about strolling around unless there is something they really need. We had put a brave face on it for as long as we could and were hoping things would pick up, but we're starting to get to the point where we were looking at the budgets and thinking 'if things don't pick up, we've probably only got another couple of months of safety net.

Pigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure on Wednesday 6th March 2024

Pictured: View of Pigeon Books in Southsea

Picture: Habibur RahmanPigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure on Wednesday 6th March 2024

Pictured: View of Pigeon Books in Southsea

Picture: Habibur Rahman
Pigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure on Wednesday 6th March 2024 Pictured: View of Pigeon Books in Southsea Picture: Habibur Rahman | Habibur Rahman

"We're not admitting defeat, necessarily, but just letting people know that things are not looking great and if you're able to support us, now is the time that we would really appreciate that."

Phil said the business he has had some "incredible" support from customers since sharing a post about the challenges facing Pigeon Books on social media, adding: "we won't go down without a fight."

Pigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure.Pigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure.
Pigeon Books in Southsea, Portsmouth faces threat of closure. | Habibur Rahman

The quirky bookshop is also taking part in today's (March 7) World Book Day celebrations, and local children can cash in the vouchers at Pigeon Books.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Phil added: "It's not just us having this struggle. We're really good friends with a lot of other local, independent businesses and everyone is going through the same struggle at the moment. If you're in a position that you're able to support local businesses, I think it's really important to make sure you do."

You can visit Pigeon Books at 1 Albert Road, Southsea and you can explore and order books from the shop's website here: www.pigeonbooks.co.uk.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.