I have been asked to give out the following information on Random Jottings about Independent Book Week and am happy to do so though I feel guilty as I know I am helping with their demise. I receive a lot of books from publishers so that my book buying these days is limited and, when I do purchase some, it is always from Amazon, either for my Kindle or otherwise. I love independent bookshops and love browsing and picking up books and the feel of the crisp new pages and the pleasure of holding a book in one's hands will never leave me. But, and it is a big but, the drawback is the cost. We have an excellent independent bookshop in Colchester and if I wish to purchase a book from them I have to drive into town, park at an extortionate rate, buy the book which will be more expensive than an online purchase, and back home.
So what to do?
Of the small independent bookshops I do know, many of them specialise in a certain subject so that they become the place to go to if you are interested in a certain genre. By doing this, you become, in effect, a specialist bookshop as well as a standard one. Bookshops in small villages become the centre of the community in many ways, holding events and evenings and book club meetings and stay viable.
Second hand bookshops are a different place altogether. Again, we have an excellent one in Colchester which is situated, very handily, next door to my hairdresser so when I go in to have the roots done I nip into the shop on the way out.
I set out below the details of events taking place in this week long celebration and if you can see if you can support it. I have not reproduced the entire press release as it is very long and veplease ry detailed, but do check out the website below for further information.
And to kick off,please let me know of any good independent bookshops in your area and I will try and feature them all this week.
I should end by part of this post by mentioning that the independent book shop scene seems very strong in Australia, at least the part I know. Around the corner from my daughter's house, within a radius of 100 yards are three excellent bookshops and ten minutes walk away another one. There are no Waterstones or other book chains in Sydney and, it is interesting to note, there is no Australian Amazon so this is why these shops flourish (if I am wrong about this in my very limited knowledge of Oz would some kind reader correct me). Mind you the books in Australia are very expensive indeed.
This week over 360 bookshops around the UK are taking part in Independent Booksellers Week (IBW), a week-long celebration of independent bookshops, organised by The Booksellers Association (BA), the national trade association for booksellers in the UK.
Independent Booksellers’ Week is part of the IndieBound campaign for independent bookshops, which promotes the idea of shopping locally and sustainably and highlights the stark issues facing bricks and mortar bookselling.
SOUTHBANK CENTRE DEBATE
The headline IBW event will be a debate at the Southbank Centre in London on Wednesday 3rd July. Entitled The Perfect Storm: Why Bookshops Are in the Frontline in the Battle for the High Street, chaired by James Runcie, Literature Director of the Southbank Centre, the debate will be an opportunity for the book industry, media and members of the public to meet to discuss the issues facing bookshops today. The panel will include leading independent bookseller Nic Bottomley (Mr B’s Emporium), award-winning author Kate Mosse, Chair of the Society of Authors Anne Sebba , Gordon Wise of Curtis Brown literary agency and Lindsay Mackie (New Economics Foundation).
Tickets can be booked from www.southbankcentre.co.uk .
Authors across the country will be taking part in AuthorFest, a series of high profile talks and events encouraging British book lovers to support their local bookshops. Bestselling writers including Antony Beevor, Kate Mosse, Rachel Joyce, Ann Widdecombe, Richard Madeley, Deborah Moggach, Kate Humble, Jack Straw, Malorie Blackman and Ruth Ozeki will be visiting bookshops to discuss why they matter so much to them and the valuable role that to play.
Some independent bookshops have created bespoke Festivals to tie in with IBW, including Goldsboro Books (London WC2) Crime in the Court crime writers festival on 4th July, with authors including Mark Billingham, Robert Goddard and David Hewson. The Chorleywood Bookshop will also be hosting the Bloomsbury Cooks Food Festival on 29th June, a celebration of renowned cooks and their recipes with authors such as Paul Hollywood and Wendi Peters.
For more information about IBW, visit www.independentbooksellersweek.org.uk
And don't forget to tell me about your local independent bookshop!