An independent bookseller who launched a campaign to encourage more people to shop on their high streets is urging businesses across the UK to follow her lead, with the Booksellers Association backing her campaign.
Judith Charlesworth, co-owner of Caxton Books & Gallery in Frinton-on-Sea, launched a "Shop 1 in 5" campaign in her local town yesterday (16th August), urging locals to buy one in five items on their regular shopping list from a shop on the high street as opposed to over the internet or in a supermarket.
The campaign has received support from Tendring District Council, which helped to print publicity materials for it.
Charlesworth said: "It is a campaign across all trade, not just books, and it is not only about indies, but shops in the high street—we have chains in our town which are just as vulnerable. The idea behind it is to draw raise awareness of the threat to the high street and encourage people to go and buy something from a shop rather than online or a supermarket. If they buy most of their shopping that way, then go and buy some apples from the local grocer."
She said she wanted to send out the message that internet and supermarket shopping were here to stay, but that they could also be combined with local shopping.
"As indies, I fear we sometimes risk looking phobic of the other side of things, in terms shopping online," Charlesworth said. "For some reason people sometimes have this apologetic nature when they come into the shop; they say: 'I'll let my child look for a book while I stand here because I have a Kindle' and I want to say: 'It's OK, have a browse around the shop'. It's all right to have both [physical and digital books]."
Charlesworth said she would consider rolling the campaign out to other nearby areas if it proved successful, and urged other local businesses to do the same. She said: "It could be something that evolves into a new shopping culture."
The Booksellers Association's head of marketing, Alan Staton, said the organisation "fully supported" Charlesworth's campaign. "We're delighted to see that they have secured the support of their local council for this campaign. The BA wrote to all local councils last year as part of Keep Books on the High Street Campaign urging them to give practical support to bookshops on their high street so it's great to see this support in action."