Welcome to Independent Booksellers’ Week!

IBW2-sidewaysDo we need independent booksellers, in this day and age when there are so many ways to discover, buy and exchange books?

Yes, of course we do!

I could give you umpteen reasons, but I’ll pull out just a few:

  • There is nowhere like a bookshop for finding the book you didn’t know you were looking for. That book that just catches your eye for some reason. The book you’d meant to read but forgot.
  • We need to keep our bookshops for future generations, especially for those who don’t grow up in bookish households and might not ever learn the joy of holding a book if there isn’t a bookshop to catch their attention.
  • There are people whose vocation is to sell books, to put them into the hands of readers. And I’m not going to tell them they can’t.
  • I like bookshops!

I could go on, but I think, I hope, I’m preaching to the converted. So let’s talk about specifics.

I thought I might lose my local independent bookshop last year when the owners were ready to retire. But I was lucky. New owners have picked up the baton, and they have done a wonderful job. Moving things forward while keeping faith with the past. Covering all of the bases and doing their own thing too.

I can warmly recommend The Edge of the World Bookshop if you ever come to the far south-west of England.

I should also mention The Hive Network. Independent booksellers working together, so that they can compete with the big booksellers on price. So that you can have the convenience of ordering online, being sure that your book will be waiting for you, and still support your local community.

It’s not a perfect system, but it’s a positive move, and something that I want to support. And if more people use it, if more bookshops get involved, it can only get better

And if you should visit your local independent bookshop this week, I can recommend a lovely little book published to mark Independent Booksellers’ Week – The Bookshop Strikes Back is Ann Patchett’s account of how she got involved with her own local bookshop. I won’t say more than that because it is very short,  but I will say that it’s a lovely, inspiring piece of writing.

It’s lovely to see book-lovers taking the initiative.

This weekend I thought I’d lost a lovely source of books, when the Beerwolf Books stall where I’ve picked up many gems over the years didn’t appear. I feared that it had gone out of business, and it was with some trepidation that I checked their details on the business card I picked up a few years ago and and went to their website.

I was thrilled with what I found – Beerwolf Books has premises, and is selling both books and beer to the good people of Falmouth. There was a reason for that name.

A success story for independent booksellers.

I think I see a trip to Falmouth in the not too distant future.

And I definitely see  a very good reason to celebrate Independent Booksellers’ Week.

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