IBW events hot up as indie optimism increases

IBW events hot up as indie optimism increases

Exclusive bookshop editions, a Hachette author tour and national comic workshops are among the festivities lined up for this year’s Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) - a celebration of independent bookshops.

Altogether around 400 indies are taking part in IBW in its 10th year, running from 18th-25th June.

Two exclusive editions are being offered for sale – a limited edition signed hardback of Robin Jarvis’ The Power of Dark (Egmont) and an exclusive cloth bound reissue of The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins), which will include some never-seen-before sketches to mark its 10th anniversary.

Phoenix Comic Creation workshops are also taking place in bookshops around the UK, with children becoming published comic creators. Launching with a flagship event at Foyles Charing Cross Road in London on 18th June with “The Greatest Comic-Making Show on Earth” starring the Etherington Brothers, altogether 30 indies will hold workshops and collect comic strips to be published to be published in time for the Books Are My Bag (BAMB) celebration in October.

Meanwhile, a Hachette Author Tour will see six authors - Elly Griffiths (Quercus), Sarah Winman (Headline), Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton), Virginia Baily (Little, Brown), Robert Muchamore (Hachette Children’s) and Veronica Henry (Orion) take part in independent bookshop events throughout the UK during the week. Henry's new novel How to Find Love in a Bookshop (Orion) is being published in hardback just before the week of events on 16th June.

Robert Macfarlane is also writing a specially-commissioned essay to celebrate IBW called The Gifts of Reading, an autobiographical essay which will include themes of travel and the importance of giving and receiving books.

Meanwhile, a poet tour called Shore to Shore lead by Carol Ann Duffy will see poets Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker and Jackie Kay (pictured below with John Sampson) tour 15 major events across Britain, from Cornwall to Scotland, over 14 days. In addition, Off The Shelf: A Celebration of Bookshops in Verse (Picador), a collection of poetry, edited by Carol Ann Duffy and featuring the touring authors and other poets, will be exclusively available in independent bookshops for IBW.

The IBW bookshop Crawl is also returning for a third year, inviting members of the public, publishers and book trade organisations to take part in a competition to blog or vlog about their visit to an independent bookshop - either fitting in as many bookshops as possible in one day, or doing a larger feature on their particular favourite. 

The Booksellers Association said this year’s IBW is being held at a time of “increased optimism and a more buoyant market for independent bookshops” after 23 shops opened last year. 2015 also saw print book sales rise for the first time in eight years, up 6.6%.

Hinting towards the key to independents’ success, the BA added: “(Bookshops) are creating incredible social and cultural spaces on their high streets – offering events, literary lunches, children’s storytelling, schools outreach, reading groups, festivals and meeting spaces.”

Ros de la Hey, owner of the Main Street Trading Company in St Boswells, told The Bookseller: "IBW gives you the opportunity to celebrate with your 'shop local' campaign, linking up with other indie retailers.  There is still a need for the indie community to shout about what is unique about it- creating fabulous local communities around books, providing events, linking with other local businesses and schools, creating local jobs and supporting local suppliers, often....  IBW acts as the summer celebration for our year-round BAMB activity. It makes indie bookshops, who can be quite isolated, feel part of something bigger, that’s about them."

In 2015, 23 indie bookshops opened in the UK but 46 closed, bringing the total to 894. The number of indie bookshops in the UK has almost halved since 2005, when there were 1,535.