Call for more indies to sign up for IBW

A London indie has called for more retailers to sign up to Independent Booksellers Week next year to help increase publicity for the event.

David Headley, co-owner of Goldsboro Books in Cecil Court, London, said the week-long focus on independent booksellers—which ran from 18th–25th June—was a “wonderful thing” for bookshops, but more needed to get involved to increase national attention for it. The Booksellers Association, which co-ordinates IBW, said 262 retailers had signed up to the 2011 event, compared to 251 that took part in 2010.

However, the participants comprise just over 20% of the 1,159 bookshops currently with BA membership. IBW aims to help booksellers -publicise their businesses and form closer links with authors and publishers under one themed week.

On Tuesday, Goldsboro Books hosted a sold-out Crime in the Court, a mini crime-writing festival featuring 39 crime writers. Headley said: “IBW is a wonderful thing, but I wish there was more support for it. If you do not get involved in things then you do not get the support from customers.

“From the event I ran, I was mentioned on BBC Radio London and the Independent on Sunday and I think more should get involved to increase publicity for the week. We sold a lot of books on Tuesday and introduced some people to Cecil Court who had never been before, which is the whole point.”

Dave Foulds, a bookseller at Dulwich Books in London who hosted authors Edmund de Waal and Stella Duffy, said IBW helped “close the gap between the community and local bookshops”. Jude Innes, of bookseller J & G Innes Ltd in Fife, hosted an event with author Lorn Macintyre. She said: “I think IBW raises the profile of independents. We need to compete against the supermarkets and online shops, so it is useful for reminding people that we are still here, and we can offer great knowledge on books.”

The BA said participating bookshops up and down the country were hosting events, author readings, creative writing courses, garden parties and even sweet-making sessions. Authors supporting the week included Maggie O’Farrell, Tony Parsons, Ann Widdecombe, Hugo Vickers, Mavis Cheek, David Nobbs and Dave Gorman.

This year, the week culminated in National Reading Group Day on 25th June, which encourages people to participate and form reading groups in their communities.