PEOPLE may feel book selling has become an online driven market, but one of Southbourne’s newest traders says the independent book shop offers an unrivalled experience.

BH6 launched in August this year and the store on Southbourne Grove has found itself at home in a young family community.

Just two months on from opening and the store has fitted right in with the wide range of independent traders in the area and started to welcome regular visitors.

Having had many years experience working in book shops, and after selling her Westbourne store, owner Kirsty Robinson was keen to start a business for some time in the area where she has always lived.

“Over the last few years I think Southbourne has really grown and is thriving as an area,” Ms Robinson said.

“There’s a lot of young families who have moved to the area and it just feels like it is buzzing.”

“In the last four years it has really come on.

"We’ve got a lot of interesting independent businesses.”

With years in the industry at both independent stores and national chains, Ms Robinson has developed an experienced view on how to be successful in a local community.

After getting settled in Southbourne she is hoping to offer group activities for children and starting up a book club.

With Christmas approaching, the battle between high street and online shopping continues.

However, in the world of books the BH6 owner believes local shops have something unique to offer.

“The challenge is the price. Amazon are selling things cheaper than we can buy them and you can’t compete with that." Ms Robinson added.

“What you have to provide is an experience instead of just being overwhelmed by the amount of choice.

“Amazon is great if you know what you want, but it’s not a nice browsing experience and you don’t find things by accident.

“Reading a book is a different experience compared to reading off a screen.

“I can understand it’s convenient for people to have a tablet, but I don’t think it is immersive in the same way as a book.

“I know online shops have their algorithms, but for me that is not the same as the interaction and human recommendation you can get from coming in.”

Along with offering an eclectic selection of non-fiction and fiction works, with a large children’s section to match the demographic of Southbourne, BH6 offers a variety of gift ideas from cushions to pink flamingo watering cans.

This is all part of an effort by Ms Robinson to deliver a shop which meets the wants and needs of the customers in the area.

“Running a book store has changed. I think previously we had a lot of the same stuff the big book stores had because it was in the media and you just had to rely on people coming,” she added.

“Now you have to curate your stock a lot more - it’s a small shop.

“We can’t keep anywhere near everything so you have to make it a really interesting mix and the publishers have helped.”