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There is a bookshop in the small town of Petersfield in England. The bookshop is family-owned and has been open for over a century. In recent years, it hasn’t been making enough money, like many small bookshops around the world.

On January 14, they didn’t sell a single book. They tweeted about not selling any books and asked for people to help them. They wanted people to come to the store. It had been the worst day of business that they had ever experienced. They called it a “tumbleweed” day.

The tweet has been retweeted over 9,000 times. It was retweeted by the author Neil Gaiman who has over 2 million followers on Twitter, allowing many people to hear about the store. Journalists in the UK then started to hear about the story. The story appeared on many news websites and TV programmes in the UK. The bookshop soon started receiving thousands of orders for books.

Now, the Twitter account for the bookshop has 20,000 followers. People have been going to their shop every day. The news has been so big in the UK that other small bookshops have been helped too. People around the UK have been going to their local bookshop instead of ordering online.

Difficult Words

Family-owned (adj): Something belonging to a family.

Century (n): 100 years.

Tumbleweed (n): A plant that breaks off in hot weather and forms a ball.

Journalist (n): A writers for a newspaper.

Local (adj): Nearby.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Match the Synonym!

 1. Family-owned  A. Writer
 2. Century  B. Plant
 3. Tumbleweed  C. 100 years
 4. Journalist  D. Nearby
 5. Local  E. Belongs to a family.

True or False?

1. The story is about a small comic shop. T / F

2. The shop is 50 years old. T / F

3. The bookshop didn’t sell a single book in one day. T / F

4. Many people retweeted the bookshop’s tweet. T / F

5. Still, the bookshop has not received any orders. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. small / is / in / bookshop / There / a / town / the

2. books / tweeted / about / They / any / not / selling

3. wanted / to / come / people / They / the store / to

4. “tumbleweed” / day / They / a / called / it

5. big / in / has / been / so / the UK / The / news

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Tweeted Author Local
Followers Recent Thousands

There is a bookshop in the small town of Petersfield in England. The bookshop is family-owned and has been open for over a century. In (1)_________ years, it hasn’t been making enough money, like many small bookshops around the world.

On January 14, they didn’t sell a single book. They (2)__________ about not selling any books and asked for people to help them. They wanted people to come to the store. It had been the worst day of business that they had ever experienced. They called it a “tumbleweed” day.

The tweet has been retweeted over 9,000 times. It was retweeted by the (3)___________ Neil Gaiman who has over 2 million followers on Twitter, allowing many people to hear about the store. Journalists in the UK then started to hear about the story. The story appeared on many news websites and TV programmes in the UK. The bookshop soon started receiving (4)____________ of orders for books.

Now, the Twitter account for the bookshop has 20,000 (5)___________. People have been going to their shop every day. The news has been so big in the UK that other small bookshops have been helped too. People around the UK have been going to their (6)________ bookshop instead of ordering online.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Where do people buy books in your country?
5. Do you prefer to shop online or in-store?
6. Are digital versions of books, movies or music more popular in your country than real versions?
7. Do you prefer to shop in independent or large chain stores?
8. Is it important to buy things from independent stores?
9. Does your country have any laws to protect independent shops?
10. Do you think there will still be independent shops 10 years from now?
11. What other industries have been hurt by the internet?
12. Has your job been affected negatively by the internet?
13. Is there anything that you would never want to buy online?
14. If you owned an independent shop, what kind would it be?
15. Is it a risk to open an independent shop these days?
16. How can independent stores change to be successful these days?
17. Have you noticed any small businesses close in your area?
18. Does this story make you want to support your local independent stores?
19. Have you heard any stories of social media helping businesses in your country?
20. Do you think the boost in business will be permanent for the bookshop?