This year’s Independent Booksellers Week (starting tomorrow, 29th June) is being described as the “biggest and best yet”, with a record number of bookshops—360—taking part and an eclectic range of events across the country.
Ann Widdecombe and Simon Mayo will be among the authors serving behind the tills in a series of “Strictly Come Bookselling”, while bookseller Nic Bottomley, author Kate Mosse, Society of Authors chair Anne Sebba and Gordon Wise of Curtis Brown will debate “The Perfect Storm: Why Bookshops Are in the Frontline in the Battle for the High Street” at the Southbank Centre in London on Wednesday (3rd July). Bloomsbury children’s authors will “sit in residence” in bookshops and Find Wally hunts will take place in local towns and cities. Meanwhile, Random House’s Windmill website will host “a full site takeover” for the week, featuring exclusive content from authors and independents. A comprehensive range of Bookseller Collectibles are also available exclusively through independents for the week.
Meryl Halls, head of membership services for the Booksellers Association, said: “We have a record number of bookshops taking part, and this year’s IBW is looking set to be the biggest and best yet. We’ve heard news of an incredibly wide variety of events taking place—from cookery classes, creating window displays and murals, a paper engineering workshop, picnics, Find Wally hunts, and, of course, some big-name authors including Malorie Blackman (pictured), Kate Mosse, Antony Beevor and Deborah Moggach showing their support with book signings and talks.”
Dulwich Books will host its youngest ever author reading when 10-year-old Victoria Agomo reads from her book, Silly Sarah (Trafford Publishing), at the south London shop on 6th July. Sheila O’Reilly, owner of Dulwich Books, said there was a lot more energy around IBW this year. “I do feel that the week has a higher profile,” she said. “Customers know about it and certainly there’s a much higher profile of it within the trade.”
Steve Lawson of Nantwich bookshop in Cheshire is building a “Gruffalo cave” in the attic of his shop for children to visit during the week. He said: “IBW draws attention from everybody else to us indies and people realise we are here and what we are doing.”
The winners for the annual IBW Book Award 2013, supported by independent booksellers, have also been announced today (28th June). Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate) took the gong in the adult category and Wonder (Corgi) by R J Palacio won in the children’s section.
Ozeki said: “Independent bookshops are the keystone species of our cultural ecosystem. When they are endangered, the rest of our species is imperilled as well. When they flourish, so do we all.”