Pre-orders have taken writer Roma Agrawal and illustrator Katie Hickey's How Was That Built?: The Stories Behind Awesome Structures (Bloomsbury) to the top spot in Bookshop.org's June indie champions list.
The list shows the books that generated the most money for indies on the platform. Agrawal (pictured) and Hickey's success was exclusively down to pre-orders on their upcoming book. Bookshop.org said this was "remarkable as pre-orders are something no bestseller list is usually able to recognise".
Although the book will be not be published until September, a tweet by the author encouraging pre-orders of the children’s version of her book, including a sneak-peek video of its content, helped the title reach number one. It was also Women In Engineering Day on 23rd June, which drew further attention to the author and her book on social media. Bookshop.org said its June indie champions list "demonstrates how social media and virtual events can drive pre-orders and book sales".
Second in the list was Anna Jones' One: Pot, Pan, Planet: A Greener Way to Cook for You, Your Family and the Planet (HarperCollins) followed by Brit Bennet 's The Vanishing Half (Dialogue), shortlisted in the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and featured in the list for the third month in a row, following the announcement of a Bookshop.org-hosted event which will take place on 13th July.
Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet (Tinder Press) was fourth, Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain (Picador) fifth and Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club (Viking) was sixth. It was followed by Torrey Peters' Detransition, Baby (Serpent's Tail), Matt Haig's The Midnight Library (Canongate), Alice Roberts' Ancestors: A Prehistory of Britain in Seven Burials (Simon & Schuster) and Meg Mason's Sorrow and Bliss (Orion).
Nicole Vanderbilt, m.d at Bookshop UK, said: “We’re delighted to see Roma’s book topping the June indie champions list. Our mission is to support independent bookshops. Helping them to get a larger share of the all-important pre-order market is an incredibly important part of that – all the better for it to have come from the actions of an award-winning female engineer and author with such an engaged following. Simply choosing an indie link to promote new titles can make all the difference to the bookshops we all love."
Agrawal added: “I'm in utter disbelief and completely delighted that Katie and my book, How Was That Built?, has topped June's chart. I've made it my mission to inspire young people, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, and encourage them to consider engineering and construction as a possible future career. I am also a huge supporter of independent bookshops and am lucky that I can walk to two amazing ones right on my high-street! It's wonderful to know that the book will help support fantastic indies all over the country.”
For Independent Bookshop Week, Bookshop.org ran the #ChooseIndieLinks campaign, calling for the book industry to pledge to link to independent bookshops or Bookshop.org throughout the week. As an incentive, Bookshop increased its pool payment to indies from 10% to 20% for the entire week. Publishers including Penguin, Canongate and Scribe, authors such as Hollie McNish and Jeremy Williams, bloggers and institutions responded to the call-out and used indie links for the duration of the week.
This week, the indie-focused retailer also announced a partnership with Modern Films.