Saturday, 18 June 2011

Independent Booksellers' Week

Today sees the start of Independent Booksellers' Week. Throughout the next seven days, independent book shops all over the UK will be holding special events involving authors, readers and booksellers. The initiative is part of the IndieBound campaign to promote independent bookshops and the role they play in developing strong reading communities, as well as the idea of shopping locally and sustainably.

I was at an event recently where the an indie bookshop owner described how they try to buy books that reflect their local area. They get to know their readers' tastes and see themselves very much as serving the community. Of course there are certain bestselling titles they have to stock, but they will consider any book, however niche or unusual, if they think it has merit and will appeal to their customers. This for me has always been the beauty of the indie shops – they are places to browse and talk to the staff, and their shelves are filled with potential gems.

Imagine a world with no bookshops – a climate where publishers refused to take a risk on new talent unless they could guarantee bestseller status. How many great stories would we lose as a result?

So in the spirit of Independent Bookseller Week, why not buy a book from your local bookshop this week. Visit the Indiebound indie bookstore locator to find your nearest shop hosting an IBW event. Or the Booksellers Association to search for all booksellers in your local area by postcode.

Here are a few of my favourites (send me links to yours):
Victoria Park Books, Hackney
The Owl Bookshop, Kentish Town
The Lion & Unicorn, Richmond
Tales On Moon Lane, Herne Hill


  1. Here in Paris I really like The Red Wheelbarrow and Shakespeare & Company, although I don't get to them nearly enough.

  2. Great names! I've only been to Paris once – on a school trip in the 80s! If I return I'll be sure to check those out though.