Readersforum's Blog

June 14, 2013

Rise of the bookshops

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett

| By Ann Patchett

Booksellers do not guard their best secrets: they are a generous tribe and were quick to welcome me into their fold and to give me advice. I was told to hang merchandise from the ceiling whenever possible, because people long to buy whatever requires a ladder to cut it down. The children’s section should always be in a back corner of the store, so that when parents inevitably wandered off and started reading, their offspring could be caught before they busted out of the store. I received advice about bookkeeping, bonuses, staff recommendations and websites.

While I was flying from city to city, Karen [Hayes] was driving around the South in a U-haul, buying up shelving at rock-bottom prices from various Borders stores that were liquidating. I had written one check before I left, for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and I kept asking if she needed more money. No, she didn’t need more money.

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May 15, 2013

Comma strikes twice on Edge Hill shortlist

thestonethrower| Joshua Farrington

Small independent publisher Comma Press has had two titles shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

The books, by Adam Marek and Jane Rogers, are shortlisted alongside titles from Jonathan Cape, Pan Macmillan and Bloomsbury, which also has two nominations.

The award, now in its seventh year, is given for a published collection of short stories by a single author. The winner will be announced in a ceremony at Waterstones Piccadilly on 4th July.

Judges for this year’s prize are last year’s winner Sarah Hall, author Lesley McDowell and Waterstones regional buyer Jim Lee.

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November 22, 2012

Horologicon tops indie Christmas tips

| By Lisa Campbell

Mark Forsyth’s follow-up to last Christmas’ runaway hit The Etymologicon (Icon) has been picked as the top title for booksellers to champion this December.

Publishers pitched alternative Christmas hits to booksellers at the Bookseller Association’s annual conference at Warwick University in September. The retailers voted for their favourites, with Forsyth’s The Horologicon (Icon) today (20th November) revealed as topping the Bookshop Originals list.

Two titles by John Murray made the indies’ choice selection, Patrick Leigh Fermor by Artemis Cooper, also on the shortlist for Waterstones Book of the Year award, at number two, and humorous title The Middle Class ABC by Fi Cotter-Craig and Zebedee Helm, in third.

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November 21, 2012

Indies tell customers: ‘We pay our taxes’

 |By Lisa Campbell

Booksellers across the country are displaying “We Pay Our Taxes” posters in their shop windows in a reference to rival company Amazon’s appearance in front of the Public Accounts Committee last week (12th November).

The Booksellers Association has created striking red point-of-sale materials for its IndieBound members to encourage their customers to choose to shop at their local bookshop as opposed to using rival online site Amazon.

The first of the two POS styles reads: “Your Money, Your Bookshop, Your Community”, with a stack of pound coins followed by the message “We Pay Our Taxes”; the second features a Union Jack-patterned purse with the message “Can Pay Do Pay!”, followed by “We Pay Our Taxes.”

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October 20, 2011

Publishers and booksellers to swap working days

20.10.11 | Lisa Campbell

Publishers and booksellers will soon be able to swap a working day in the life of each other’s businesses in a new joint initiative soon to be launched by the Booksellers Association and the Publisher Association.

The two trade bodies have been working on a forthcoming website, in which booksellers and publishers can sign up and swap details to arrange the exchange of industry experience. Following the BA’s recent calls for more support from publishers and the government to keep bookshops on the high street, the scheme is being seen as one way of encouraging greater co-operation and understanding between the two industries.

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October 4, 2011

BA urges government action to protect bookshops

Filed under: Bookshops — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 10:35 am

Tim Godfray

04.10.11 | Lisa Campbell

High street bookshops need help from the government if their presence there is to continue, the c.e.o. of the Booksellers Association has said.

Tim Godfray called on the government to give rate relief to businesses with a cultural and educational value to maintain independent bookshops on high streets and protect “the wellbeing of society”. He also called on publishers to do more to support bricks and mortar booksellers.

Godfray’s remarks come after the BA found overall membership numbers had declined by 20% in the last six years, from 4,495 in June 2006 to 3,683 in June 2011, with independent bookshop membership falling even further by 26%, from 1,483 in June 2006 to 1,099 in June 2011.

In a statement, Godfray said: “At a time when literacy is an issue and libraries are under threat from government cuts, we need to build a coalition of publishers, government and consumers to provide opportunities for the passionate and creative entrepreneurs who run bookshops on our high streets to thrive.

“What is clear from surveying our members is the considerable influence local and national government and our competition authorities have on the high street retailer. There is a lot of talk about putting the high street first, but far more action is needed. Rate relief for businesses with a cultural and educational value would be welcome.”

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October 1, 2011

Guardian launches indie guide

| By Charlotte Williams

A guide to independent bookshops will be given away in this Saturday’s Guardian [1st October], with more than 350 indies included.

The Independent Bookshops Directory is a 74-page A5 guide, with bookshops picked by the Guardian and the Observer. The directory also features an introduction from author Sarah Hall and an article written by Stephen Moss on his day at Hampshire’s One Tree Books.

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September 24, 2011

Indie Alliance sets up loyalty card scheme

 | Charlotte Williams

The Independent Alliance has launched a nationwide loyalty card scheme for independent bookshops, with 114 indies signed up so far.

Love Your Indie, which will be run in association with the Guardian and Observer as part of their Books Season, has been put together by Faber marketing director Joanna Ellis and Icon Books sales and marketing director Andrew Furlow, with digital agency Bookswarm’s operations director Simon Appleby.

Customers receive a stamp for every £10 they spend in the participating shops. Once they have collected 10 stamps, they can then pick a free book from a selection provided by Independent Alliance publishers.

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September 19, 2011

Goldsboro sponsors HWA historical debuts prize

| By Lisa Campbell

London independent Goldsboro Books is sponsoring a new prize for debut historical fiction from the Historical Writers Association.

The inaugural prize will be for the best debut published in the UK in 2010 and 2011 and will be presented at the independent bookshop’s History in the Court Festival on 27th September 2012.

The HWA said the aim of the prize was to highlight the wealth of new fiction authors whose novels fit into this genre.

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August 2, 2011

Orion launches BookBark for indies

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:05 pm

 | Charlotte Williams

Orion has launched an online initiative to support independent booksellers in the UK and Ireland, providing resources such as free-to-download in-store point of sale and exclusive offers.

More than 100 bookshops have registered for BookBark. Orion field sales director Dominic Smith said: “Orion is proud to be the first publisher to create an informative, interactive, and innovative website exclusively for independent bookshops.

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