Independent bookshops start to close as coronavirus advice comes in

Independent bookshops start to close as coronavirus advice comes in

Independent bookshops across the country are closing their doors to protect staff and customers from the coronavirus outbreak.

Many indie shops are encouraging customers to support their businesses and place orders online. Delivery services have also been ramped up across the board, with some shops delivering free of charge in local areas. 

Other bookshops have been offering free books for those in need, calls for people in isolation so they aren't lonley as well as sending hand-picked care packages out. 

On the 30th March, wholesalers Gardeners and Hive have suspended new orders due to concerns over worker safety and unprecedented demand. As a result, many indies had to suspend orders as they cannot guarantee supply, some are now reopening with limited ordering of stock they already have. Read the full story here

The Booksellers Association is a huge support behind indies as they move toward more home delivery methods and better online ordering. They are calling on customers and the trade to rally behind retailers and support bookshops, as the coronavirus outbreak hits the hightstreet. BA m.d. Meryl Halls said: "we want to remind consumers that they can still use their local bookshop to buy books even if they are practising social distancing."

Halls added: "We are very keen for publishers and authors to help reinforce this message too—not to default to Amazon as the de facto buying option, but to link to bookshops and to reiterate the importance of shopping locally, supporting their local community and emphasising the contribution of bookshops to safe, nourishing and mutually supportive neighbourhoods." Read the full story here.  

See our guide below on which bookshops across the country are closing or offering delivery services during the coronavirus outbreak.

South England
North England
The Midlands

This list is up-to-date as of Tuesday 28th April, please email any information on closures and changes to Tamsin Hackett.


Belgravia Books- The shop has now closed to the public but they are once again fulfilling onlline orders for titles listed on the website. Orders for books published by the shop (Gallic) are also still be accepted and fulfilled. 

Bookmarks- The "largest socialist bookshop in Britain" has closed its doors. The mailing department is open and in a tweet they confirmed they "will be live streaming events in the near future" and "doing readings from books online". 

Bookseller Crow- The shop has closed for the safety of staff and customers. Orders can still be made via their website. Due to the  closure of the shops suppliers, they are no longer able to ensure the availabilty of books which are not already on the physical remises. They ask customers who wish to order to email first. 

BrOOK's Pinner- The shop is closed to the public, but like many others they are still taking orders and working behind closed doors. The shop is also running a fundraiser to buy books for the children of key workers in their local area! Details on how to donate can be found on their Twitter page. 

Dulwich Books- Dulwich books is closed. However they are still able to take orders via email and offer free local delivery. The staff will be fulfilling orders everyday and are happy to make recommendations. They plan to keep in regular contact with customers via their newsletter, sharing updates about the situation, information about new books, book reviews and are happy to make recommendations.

Cathy Slater from Dulwich Books also added: "we greatly appreciate all the work the BA are doing for booksellers, and value their support and advice."

The London Review Bookshop- The bookshop closed on the 17th March until further notice. Originally, the shop planned to stay open by postponing all events and late shopping evenings, but reducing trading hours and "limiting the number of customers in the shop at any one time and instituting extra cleaning measures." 

The shop also said on Twitter that they will be announcing new bookselling and digital publishing initiatives this week, to "provide diversion in the coming months."

For now, the paper is continuing to be published as normal.

Newham Bookshop- The shop is closed until further notice. The shop is taking orders and have volunteers who will deliver books by bike. They are also offering to post books to those further away. Please email for requests and they will fulfil the order if possible. 

Owl Bookshop, Hackney- After temporarily suspending the service, online ordering and delivery are now back up and running. Oders can be placed online at Daunt Books, or by emailing Daunt. If an order was placed directly with Owl before the closures, please contact Daunt Books with the details. 

Pages of Hackney- The bookshop tweeted this morning: "Due to the need for social distance at this crucial time we sadly feel it is right to close the shop until the end of March." Instead, Pages of Hackney are encouraging orders but can only supply books they already have in stock. They will be showcasing their stock on Instagram everyday and customers can message them if they would like to purchase a title shown. 

Round Table Books, Brixton- The shop has now had to close completely as it's supplier has stopped operations. Any orders made before 30th March will be fulfilled. 

Rye Books, East Dulwich- The shop's doors are currently closed, howeer they are still accepting email orders. Get in touch with them via their Twitter to order and show your support. 

School of Life Bookshop- The physical shop on Marchmont street is, of course, closed. However, the team is working hard to fulfil orders from the online shop, which is open as usual. 

Tales on Moon Lane- The shop is taking orders via email. Pplease note: the shops suppliers have limited services so deliveries may take longer and stock availabilty may be reduced. They encourage customers to email with any queries. You can also buy gift cards online which can be saved for the future. 

Village Books, Dulwich- The bookshop is closed to the public but they are trying to supply books at a distance. They are still offering advice and recommendations, with orders to be placed via email. If you are self-isolating they are able to deliver books within walking distance of the shop, but ask customers to be patient with delivery times. They also have jigsaws and games. 

All events have been cancelled for the coming weeks and customers will recieve a full refund.

West End Lane Books, West Hampstead- The shop is once again able to sell and post books via email. They are also offering book vouchers to be used now or when the shop reopens. 

Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, Tetbury- The bookshop is able to take new orders online, although the closure of some wholesalers will affect the ability to offer a full postal service.

South England

Aardvark Books, Herefordshire- In light of the announcement about school closures, they have decided to close to the public. Like many others, the shop will continue to sell online via their website and will take orders via email, phone and social media.

Aldeburgh Bookshop, Suffolk- Staff cannot safely access their bookshop, however they are able to offer home delivery through their wholesalers warehouse. Availability is limited to what is already on the shelves and orders can be placed via email

Bell Bookshop, Henley- They are offering to post books across the country. They ask customers to call or email and they will help in anyway they can. 

Big Green Bookshop, Hastings- The shop remains open and encourages poeple to make orders via email or Twitter. They are also still running their Big Green Bookshop monthly subscription service.

Book Nook, Ware- The shop is still accepting orders via email and social media whilst the physical premises remain closed. 

Coles Books, Bicester- Coles Books has begun offering free local delivery during the outbreak. Free delivery applies to Bicester and surrounding villages. You can call the shop or email to place your order. 

Devizes Books, Wiltshire- The shop is accepting orders by phone and email, they will not be charging for delivery service at this time. They urge those who are in self-isolation to take advantage of this service. 

Haslemere Bookshop, Haslemere- After temporarily closing the online shop, they are now able to process new orders. The supplier does have some limitations to keep warehouse workers safe, so customers can only order one book at a time. Books make take up to 10 days to arrive. They also remain active on social media

Moon Lane Children's Books and Toys, Ramsgate- The shop is not able to take orders directly. But they ask customers who are able to use Hive to select 'Moon Lane Children's Books & Toys, Ramsgate' as the independent bookshop to support after checkout. 

Mr B's EmporiumBath- Mr B continues to trade online. The booksellers can make recommendations and take orders over the phone and online. They advise that normal delivery times may be slightly delayed. 

Mr B said: " We are fortunate in one sense that we invested fairly in our website a few years ago. We do have a number of things on our website that we are now bringing to the fore." 

October Books, Southampton- The shop is closed for passing trade but are taking orders for books as well as organic food and cleaning products. Like many others, they are currently only able to offer books they have in stock, their online catalogue is kept up-to-date so customers can search for available titles. The shop has also started supplying ebooks and audiobooks

P&G Wells, Winchester- The shop is closed to the public but still taking orders. They are happy to post books country-wide. They can be contacted by email, phone or via their website.  They are also offering free doorstop delivery for all orders over £30 within Winchester. 

Red Lion Books, Colchester- The shop closed to the public on the 23rd March. As the shop is a small space it was becoming "impossible" for customers to practice social distancing. The shop is still taking orders and delivering. Please note that the shop is only able to deliver one-book parcels. 

Sarum College Bookshop, Salisbury- The bookshop is now closed to the public and closed online. Follow their Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest developments. 

Sevenoaks Bookshop, Kent- The online shop is now live and all their stock is available to order, however due to government guidelines they are only able to deliver books within a small area, their is a postcode checker on the website. If your postcode is outside of their delivery area, you can still order via email

Wallingford Bookshop, Oxfordshire- The shop is trading online but like many others they are only able to sell the stock that is currently in their shop, they are happy to make recommendations for alternative titles if they don't have exactly what you want. You can order via email or phone 01491 834 383.

Wheeler's Bookshop, West Sussex- The bookshop is closed to the public for the next few weeks. The owner would like to "avoid the shop being party to any indirect spread of the virus". The shop is still trading behind closed doors and can be contacted by email

The shop is offering new, old and long out-of-print books and has been posting worldwide for the last 20 years. Local customers are also welcome to drop a note through the door if they are not able to email.

North England

Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham- The book is able to sell and deliver books they currently have in stock. Orders and enquiries can be placed via email. If they don't have something you're looking for, they will try to find a shop that does.They are also selling mystery boxes based on your taste!

Forum Books, Corbridge- The bookshop is still open for home delivery. Books can be ordered via email and they are also trying to stay active on social media

Grove Bookshop, Ilkley- The shop has closed and is not offering deliveries so they can "free up the postal service for more essential servies". Follow their social media channels to stay connected if you are in self-isolation.

La Biblioteka, Sheffield- The owners, Alex and Julie Maxwell have got some limited stock at home to tide customers over for the next few weeks.  They are happy to recieve any orders, but they will not be fulfilled until it is safe for them and suppliers to do so. They also run subscription services and sell gift cards which can be used at a later date. 

Plackitt & Booth, Lytham- The shop is offering a 'telephone bookshop' service. You can call (01253 796 958), email or message them on Twitter to order.

Portal Bookshop, York- Portal Bookshop is a fairly new indie based in York, the shop specialises in LGBT+ and diverse sci-fi fantasy. The physical shop has been closed, but they are still taking orders online and via social media. 

The owner, Lali, has also been offering to send out a copy of The Trans Teen Survival Guide for free to "any trans or nonbinary young person (or their trusted friend, proxy, school, etc to preserve their anonymity) who is facing isolation with an unsupportive family." The shop has been inudated with requests and they are taking donations to help cover their costs. Details can be found on Twitter.  

Storytellers, St Annes on Sea- The shop is taking orders via phone, email, and social media. Please note that due to Gardners' restrictions, books will be sent singularly. 

The Book Case, West Yorkshire- The bookshop is closed and cannot accept any online orders. They encourage supporters to order from 'sister' bookshop Book Corner, Halifax. 

White Rose Book Cafe, Thirsk- The shop is closed until further notice and asks customers to resist buying books online. However, they are already planning a re-opening party! 

The Midlands 

The Book Hive, Norwich- Whilst the physical shop is obviously closed, staff are fulfilling orders over the phone, email and social media. They are primarily using the stock they have but also using Garner's home delivery service when necessary. They have plenty of initiatives to sell books, such as their hand-picked isolation packs, Book Explorer Activity Packs for children as well as 'lucky dip' packages. 10% of profit from 'lucky dip' orders will go to Sir Norman Lamb's Mental Health Charity. Book Hive is also offering free postage nationwide. 

The Rabbit Hole, Brigg- The shop is closed to the public both in person and online. They have holted all deliveries to better comply with government guidelines. However, they are remaining in contact with more vulnerable sutomers by phone and supporting them in any way they can. 

Wonderland Books, Retford- The shop has now closed to online orders, with the acception of purchasing gift vouchers to be used at a later date.

The shopkeepers are also offering to chat to those who are lonley in isolation, give recommendations by phone and deliver surprise book bundles according to people's tastes. They are also staying very actve with lots of book-ish content on Twitter


Sheelagh na Gig, Cloughjordan, County Tipperary- The shop stocks books and wholefoods. They are asking customers to phone (0505 42123) or email orders.  Full details can be found here

Gutter Bookshop- Both the Cow's Lane and Dalkey shops are closed. Gutter's are no longer able to pack and send online orders until the 12th April, or until lockdown ends. The shop is able to offer limited ordering of stock in the Cow's Lane shop. 


Category Is Books, Glasow- The "fiercly independent queer bookshop" is taking online orders via email and taking online payment. Like many, orders are limited to one books as they are shipped directly from suppliers. 

Edinburgh Bookshop, Edinburgh- The shop is closed and not accepting online orders. 

Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh- The bookshop is closed until further notice. Staff are working quickly to expand the online shop so that people are able to place orders but they also accept orders via email, orders are limtied to what is already in the shop. 

Mainstreet Books, Scottish Borders- The shop is now closed. They have a new online shop which stocks some of their books, but the full range of titles is available if readers contact them by email. Books can be sent across the UK.

They also offering a book subscription service and encourage people to buy gift vouchers at this time. They ask those who are self-isolating to get in touch so they can try to make home delivery arrangments with you. 

The Portobello Bookshop, Edinburgh- Portobello owner Jack Clark told The Boookseller: "It's been extremelly tough deciding the right path, with so little guidance or clear narrative from the government." The online shop has also had to close, but girft cards can still be purchased.

The Ullapool Bookshop, Ullapool- The bookshop is temporarily closed but the online shop is still open. 


Griffin Books, Penarth-  The shop is now closed to the public, however they are taking orders over the phone (029 2070 6455), email and on socail media. They are hand delivering in the local area for free or will post anywhere. 

Indie publishers selling direct to readers:

Graffeg Books- Graffeg Publishing, based in Cardiff Bay, is still working to supply readers via their online shop. Orders placed before 2pm will be sent the same day/

Imray- The staff are still working hard and sending out orders at this difficult time. They are working with a skeleton staff so delays are possible. 

Red Dog Press- The publisher is still selling direct from their website and are offering discounts.