Bourne unites authors in bookshop support campaign

Bourne unites authors in bookshop support campaign

Author Holly Bourne has launched a campaign to support bookshops during lockdown, with more than 300 writers getting involved so far. 

#SignForOurBookshops, a social media campaign, urges the public to buy through high-street stores and will offer exclusive signed bookplates designed by former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, to stores and customers.

Authors including Malorie Blackman, Emma Gannon,  Dolly Alderton, Matt Haig, Adam Kay, Michael Rosen and David Nicholls have all pledged support for the campaign. 

Bourne has promised to send signed, personalised bookplates to 50 people who buy her titles through a bookshop during lockdown, in addition to sending signed bookplates to 10 bookshops. Other authors will also sign a limited number of bookplates for their own work on receipt of proof of purchase from the customer. 

Speaking to The Bookseller,  Bourne said she has been "blown away by how it's taken off". After coming up with the idea on 1st November, Bourne pulled together the campaign in three days, to launch on the first day of the second UK lockdown. 

"By the end of Sunday I had more than 200 authors pledging support and by Monday morning I had a bespoke bookplate designed by Chris Riddell," she said.  

"People are a bit more prepared to spring into action this second lockdown because we're psychologically used to the idea of having our freedoms taken away.

"It's the most important time of year for trading, all the big Thursday releases have launched. This time of year is always my favourite time of year to go into bookshops, because it's cold, it's dark, you can go in and pick up loads of Christmas presents and I just thought 'what can I do to help?'"

Commenting on the bricks and mortar focus of the campaign, Bourne said: "This isn't anti-Amazon, it's pro-bookshops really, pro-local. They are incredible pillars of our community. Authors need bookshops as much as bookshops need authors, it's so important for discoverability, for browsing, booksellers organise events — and so many authors have existing amazing relationships with bookshops and individual booksellers."

Bourne has included high-street chains, such as Waterstones and W H Smith in her pledge, but has left it up to individual authors to decide which bookshops will be in their bookplate remit. 

"For me, what I'm pledging is to include all bookshops. My life has been just as changed by the incredible Storytellers, Inc in Lancashire, who gave me my first ever book event when I was an unknown debut [writer] but then I owe just as much to the W H Smith at Victoria train station.They're magical places and I want them all to be there after the lockdown."

It comes as support galvanises for bookshops across the UK, including the launch of Bookshop.org, which has seen 150 indie bookshops already signed up. Publishers including Faber & Faber, Atlantic, Picador and Jacaranda are also on board.