Bookshops in Aberdeenshire, Norfolk and Yorkshire are among the winners of HarperCollins' Indie Development Fund, which offers independent bookshops funding for projects that grow community access to books and reading.
Grants of £2,000 have been awarded to Warwick Books, The Bookshop (East Grinstead), Castle Hill Bookshop (Richmond, Yorkshire), Forum Books (Corbridge, Northumberland), Coles Books (Bicester), Mrs Middleton’s Shop & The Rabbit Hole (Isle of Wight), Topping & Company Booksellers (St Andrews), Orbs Community Bookshop (Huntly, Aberdeenshire), Wymondham Community Bookshop / Kett’s Books (Wymondham, Norfolk) and Tales on Moon Lane (London).
Nearly 50 independent bookshops applied for the grant, with projects ranging from mobile bookshops and student discount schemes to hosting enterprise days to teach school children about setting up a bookshop.
The final shortlist was considered by a judging panel of authors Jon McGregor and Joanna Cannon alongside HarperCollins’ group sales director, Oliver Wright, and head of local sales and marketing, Michael Jones.
McGregor said: “It was great to see how many engaged and active booksellers are out there, looking to do fantastic things for their communities. Lot of submissions came in from community bookshops and outreach initiatives, which was really encouraging, and I’m delighted with the overall winners.” Cannon added: “There are so many brilliant people with brilliant ideas in independent bookshops, and I found it very uplifting to read all of the entries. I’m absolutely thrilled for the winners of funding from HarperCollins.”
Wright said: “It was a great privilege to judge the winners of the Indie Development Fund. The quality was outstanding and in the end it was very difficult to choose ten winners, but I’m delighted with the projects that were chosen and wish them every success.”
Created by HarperCollins’ Indie Thinking programme, the Independent Bookshop Initiative 2017 was launched in October and also includes the Indie Start-Up Grant, which provides incremental support at launch to new and growing independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland with an additional 10% discount on all store opening orders.