You’ve probably all noticed that we’ve been talking quite a lot about Independent Booksellers Week lately, taking place this week from 29th June to 6th July. Originally organised by the Booksellers Association in 2007, IBW celebrates and supports independent bookstores everywhere! It encourages readers to explore and become better-acquainted with their local indie bookstore, in the hope that they will find a reason to shop there more frequently instead of at the usual high-street chains. IBW helps to ensure that these increasingly elusive cultural gems do not become abandoned or worse, extinct.
Since Amazon’s recent tax-avoidance escapade, many consumers – that includes readers and authors – have admitted to being driven more towards shopping at indie bookshops to get their literary fix. Why is this? Perhaps they feel it is a more honest, pure way to shop; maybe they like the uniqueness, the exclusivity of it all…or maybe its the special exchange that takes place between bookseller, who cherishes books almost like a faithful collector, and avid reader, who often secretly wishes to be said collector.
Overall, a strong sense of community is created by the presence of independent shops and traders, and according to Kate Mosse, just one of this year’s IBW’s many literary advocates, independent booksellers do this beautifully. So far, IBW has been supported by the likes of David Walliams, Eoin Colfer, Nick Sharratt, Alan Bennett, and dozens of others, and many have been rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in this week to show their fans the many perks of shopping the indie way.
This Week At A Glance…
IBW began with National Reading Group Day on 29th June, which celebrated everything to do with reading groups and the benefits they can bring for people everywhere. Since then, the Annual Independent Bookseller Awards took place, awarding US authors Ruth Ozeki and RJ Palacio their very first UK literary awards, decided by independent booksellers.
Then there was the Southbank Centre Debate on 3rd July in London – a talk reflecting on booksellers’ fight for the high street, involving writers Kate Mosse, James Runcie (Head of Literature at Southbank Centre) and Anne Sebba, (Chair of the Society of Authors).
AuthorFest sees Mosse, along with fellow authors Malorie Blackman, Anthony Beevor and Ann Widdecombe appear in their own local bookshops to share their thoughts on supporting the trade. Widdecombe is also participating in Strictly Come Bookselling, which involves authors stepping behind the counters of local bookstores, perhaps surprising a fan or two!
The Telegraph offers a good overview of all this week’s key dates right here.
Want to get involved? Then make the most of this fantastic period in your literary calendar, and attend a local bookstore today! Below are some of our favourite bookstores across the nation. If you’re situated in or near any of these locations, be sure to pop in (and don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Reader Issue #50 when you do)!
Books Upstairs (Dublin)
News From Nowhere (our home, Liverpool)
Scarthin Books (Peak District)
Athenaeum Boekhandel (in Amsterdam!)
Alternatively, you can search for your own nearest indie bookstore here.