Help your local bookshop

What do authors David Nicholls, Marian Keyes, Matt Haig, Malorie Blackman and Adam Kay have in common? They are among the three hundred authors who’ve come together to help local bookshops during lockdown. Make that three-hundred and one. I’ve joined in.

Indie bookshops, like all bricks-and-mortar retailers, are having a hard time of it during Lockdown 2.0. The #SignForOurBookshops campaign aims to give them a helping hand. The idea, thought up by novelist Holly Bourne, is that readers who buy books from indie bookshops are rewarded with a signed bookplate from the author. Neat, eh?

If you buy a copy of Note to Boy from your local indie and contact me via Twitter or this website with proof of purchase and your address, a signed SFOB bookplate – designed by the the former children’s laureate, Chris Riddell – will be on its way to you. •••

I don’t expect to be sending out as many as the best-selling authors who are generously participating, but at least I can do my modest bit to keep local bookshops open and say ‘thank you’ to them for being so supportive of Note to Boy.

As Holly Bourne says, ‘SignForOurBookshops aims to entice locked-down customers away from the lure of a certain online retailer, by providing them with exclusive access to signed books, sold only through bookshops. It also hopes to be a thunderclap of support for bookshops, reminding people to support their local stores throughout lockdown.’

This campaign comes on the heels of the launch of another initiative, Bookshop.org, which is pitching itself as a socially conscious alternative to Amazon. Could it be that the book market is changing?

 

*** UK only, sorry. Campaign ends with the lockdown (fingers crossed!) on 2 December. 

   

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Some good news (for a change)

Writers have a dilemma when it comes to the big online retailers (you know who you are!). On the one hand we want to support independent bookshops; on the other, the e-behemoths are so dominant, we need them if we want to get our books in front of as many readers as possible.

A solution may be on hand. Bookshop.org, launched in the UK this very day, is on a mission to support the indies by offering an alternative way to buy books online. It’s being described as a ‘revolutionary moment in the history of bookselling’.

Independent bookshops are marvellous things to be cherished. There, often housed in quaint old buildings, you’ll find people who, like you, love books and are ready and willing to answer questions and offer reading suggestions. Visiting an indie is in every way a much richer experience than clicking a ‘buy-now’ button. They are a vital part of our culture and the beating heart of many a town centre.

In these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to champion local bookshops. Even though up and down the land they are now having to close their doors for at least a month, you can still help them by visiting Bookshop.org, the online bookstore that financially supports local independent bookstores and gives back to the book community.

Taking on the giants of e-retailing is a tall order. Whether Bookshop.org has the clout to make a difference, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

 

   

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