Indies are rolling out a raft of innovative schemes to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week (IBW), including competitions and early releases of David McKee's children’s books, while poet Brian Bilston has shared a celebratory poem.
The week runs from 19th to 26th June and is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, run by the Booksellers Association (BA) and celebrating booksellers across the UK and Ireland.
Among those getting involved is Picador author Bilston, often dubbed the unofficial “Poet Laureate of Twitter”, who has shared a poem called "Never Judge a Bookshop by its Cover". In it, he talks about how every bookshop is not just a place selling books but also a pharmacy, hardware store, garden centre, greengrocer and more.
It begins: "It may call itself a bookshop, but don’t be fooled by that./ There may be books in the window, on the tables and shelves,/ but really, it’s a travel agent selling all-immersive holidays,/ weekend breaks, first-class tickets to other worlds..."
Coinciding with its 50th anniversary celebrations of Elmer author David McKee on the BBC, Andersen Press is releasing early copies of Mr Benn: 123456789 and Mr Benn: Big Top for independent retailers.
In addition, the press has partnered with Positively Putney, the business improvement district for Putney in south-west London, to create a trail featuring Mr Benn art by McKee to encourage people to explore Putney town centre. The Mr Benn family walking tour will be in action from the 25th June, featuring 16 life-size characters around Putney in different outfits, and displays in shop windows.
Elsewhere, independent graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero is offering a #DrawYourBookshop Competition that will see winning artwork replicated as postcards.
During the week, all artists and book-lovers will be invited to to create a quick sketch, drawing, or masterpiece of their favourite independent bookshop for a chance to be included in its #DrawYourBookshop Postcard Book.
The winners will be announced during the summer, and offered a contract for the reproduction of their work. Artists will be asked to pick their favourite indie bookshop and post their creation on Twitter or Instagram, tagging the bookshop @selfmadehero and @booksaremybag.
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