Independent Bookshop Week is in full swing with events up and down the country as Booksellers Association research reveals 82% of indie booksellers had a different career prior to owning or working in their bookshop.
A survey of 450 bookshops conducted by the BA revealed that before becoming booksellers people worked in a wide variety of fields, including software development, consultancy, radiography, investment banking, teaching, carpentry, HR and call centres with many citing their lifetime interest in books as being behind their career change.
The survey also found one in three bookshops are run by multiple generations of the same family and 76% of independent bookshops are involved in community projects with two in five involved in high street regeneration. In terms of community involvement indie bookshops are involved in projects with local charities and food banks as well as creative classes for children and the Red Box Project, which collects sanitaryware for girls living in period poverty.
Launched in 2006, this year's Independent Bookshop Week started on Saturday 15th June and will run until Saturday 22nd June.
Authors and booksellers are taking part in events across the country. Today (Monday 17th June) Pat Barker, who won this year's adult IBW award for The Silence of the Girls (Penguin) will be doing a signing at Forum Books in Newcastle from 6.30pm.
Catherine Doyle, who scooped the children's IBW award for The Storm Keeper's Island (Bloomsbury) is doing school events with Nomad Books in Fulham, London on Wednesday 19th June at 4pm and The Bookcase in Lowdham on Thursday 20th June.
Picador author Ed Docx will embark on a national creative writing workshop tour as part of Pan Macmillan’s Independent Bookshop Week celebrations. In the series, How To Write a Book in an Hour, award-winning author Docx will explain how great stories are written and will teach readers how to do it – in an hour. The tour will run from Tuesday 16th to Friday 21st June and will include events at Rogan’s Books, Bedford, Chorleywood Bookshop, Rickmansworth, West End Lane Books, London, Hart’s Books, Saffron Walden, Rossiter's, Ross-on-Wye, Booka, Oswestry and Simply Books, Bramhall.
Catherine Bruton will launch No Ballet Shoes in Syria at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath on Thursday 20th June, to tie in with Refugee Week. Elsewhere, Jim Whalley, who is both a local author and works in the bookshop, and Stephen Collins will be launching Baby’s First Jail Break at Read in Holmfirth on 22nd June.
Graeme Simsion, Melbourne-based author of The Rosie Project and recently published The Rosie Result, will be doing events with Linghams in Heswel today (Monday 17th June), at Toppings in Christ Church, Bath on Tuesday 18th June, Chorleywood Library on Wednesday 19th June and Hart’s in Saffron Walden, Cambridge on Friday 21st June. Events featuring Victoria Hislop, Ben Aaronovitch, Richard Roper and Libby Page are also planned.
Julia Donaldson will also visit bookshops in West Sussex, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire and the Scottish Borders to celebrate this year’s Independent Book Week.
Icon Books, to celebrate the recent paperback launch of Buzz by Thor Hansen, will be hosting an illustrator tour of a select number of indie bookshops with Catherine Faulkner decorating shop windows with bees and flowers to make spring scenes to complement the book.
Hachette authors are throwing their weight behind Independent Bookshop week with some of the publisher's leading authors partnered with bookshops around the country to nominate their top ten favourite books in ‘Curated Shelves” to create bespoke in-store displays specially for the week.
From Ian Rankin declaring his love for Rivals by Jilly Cooper, Jo Brand extolling the virtues of classic The Vindications of the Right of Women, and a ten-year-old Joanne Harris being terrified and fascinated by Lord of the Flies, the list is an eclectic collection of titles recommended for readers of all ages, said Hachette.
Author Clare Mackintosh has written a letter of appreciation, gratitude and support to independent booksellers, thanking booksellers for the vital role they play in recommending books and encouraging reading.
In addition, to show their enthusiasm and support for independent booksellers Hachette staff are being offered the chance to win a hamper of books for their favourite independent shop using #faveindiebookshop. Carmelite House reception and arrival spaces will also be decorated during the course of the week.
HarperCollins will announce the recipients of the HarperCollins Literacy Project Grants for Independent Booksellers on Thursday 20th June.
As part of the week-long campaign, illustrator and author Nicola Kent has been awarded the inaugural Independent Booksellers’ Best New Illustrator Award, which celebrates new talent in children’s illustration, as voted for by independent booksellers across the country.
Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the BA, said: “Independent Bookshop Week is all about book lovers coming together to celebrate the importance of indies on our high streets, and it’s deeply heartening to see so many authors and publishers showing their support.”
This year's Independent Bookshop Week comes months after the BA reported a second year of growth in its independent bookshop membership, with 15 new shops joining the trade body in 2018. The BA's numbers swelled to 883 independents last year, a 1.7% rise from the 2017 total of 868. This is the second consecutive year the BA has marked an increase in independent bookshop members following over 20 years of decline.
Follow Independent Bookshop Week's latest developments via social media: #IndieBookshopWeek @BooksAreMyBag.