IT was the first sign of a fight back in the digital age when a brand new bookshop proudly opened its doors in a New Forest town.

Waterstones opened in Ringwood during the Bank Holiday weekend – the first store in its chain to open in the past six years.

It comes amid reports of a slowing down of|e-book sales and its arrival flies in the face of reports from elsewhere in the country that traditional bookshops are closing down as they feel the pinch.

The market town’s new store opened on Saturday and has been “designed for the 21st century complete with a cafe”, according to managing director James Daunt, who said bookshops need to be more of a social place.

Hundreds of people flocked to the town’s Furlong Shopping Centre to celebrate the opening and enjoyed live music, refreshments and a variety of activities for children including the chance to pet some chicks.

The shopping centre’s marketing manager, Charlie Reed, said she was delighted with the turnout and that the atmosphere was fantastic.

“We hear a lot in the news about the death of the high street, so it is wonderful to see a big shop like this open up here,” she added.

“There was a feel-good vibe and we are hoping it will encourage more people to come and visit us in the future.”

The new 3,215 sq ft store opened on Good Friday, with children given the opportunity to have their picture taken with Kipper the dog.