Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Independent Booksellers Week & The Guardian's List of Indie Bookshops

It's Independent Booksellers Week from tomorrow, the 26th June, to the 5th of July. And we should celebrate our appreciation of them and show our support not only during this coming week, but throughout the year.

We all know that independent bookshops are becoming a rare bread. I would like to say that the love of books will keep them going forever, but convenience, the high-street, digitalization, competition, sometimes a lack of foresight and, in cases, a slow reaction to change, as well as ever shrinking margins and ever higher rents and rates are enough to squeeze the passion out of any business, never mind one based on a creative industry.

Having said that, in the last few years, huge effort has been put into showing these surviving mavericks our appreciation and support. More and more we see communities getting together to protect local libraries and bookshops, from small country towns to big metropolises, including famous people like acclaimed crime author James Patterson who is to donate £250K to keep indie booksellers going. It's hard to keep a foot in the future while appreciating the present and preserving the past, but some are managing to do just that. A newspaper both online and on print, The Guardian is also a reference for culture and literature. I'm a fan of its style guide, which keeps my spelling in check the British way, and now I'm a big fan of their UK Independent Bookshop Directory. According to their website, you can order what looks like a paper copy, but online you can use the interactive map to find your nearest treasure trove.

At the same time, The Guardian is the first British broadsheet to show some love to and review self-published books, or us we bookworms affectionately call them - indie books. If you click on the latter link, you will also realise they have been keeping a close eye in this facet of the book business for a while. Self-publishing represents only 5% of the overall book market, but it has grown 79% recently and this broadsheet it's keeping its fingers on that pulse, nurturing talents from the early days of a very promising part of the industry. I can't say I blame them. It's their job to spot trends and surf the waves of what is to come. Hell! I myself might become an indie author some day!

Meanwhile... You can still enjoy the smell of paper and the individual, if not lovingly eccentric, care you receive at your local independent bookshop by finding out about them in The Guardian Independent Bookshop Directory. I found out that I have one just down the road from me that I never knew existed! Popping in for a nosy today. :)

Do you have a local independent bookshop near you or a favourite bookshop you can resist and could spend hours in? Tell us all about it! Let's spread the love. :)

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