Full plans for Independent Bookshop Week 2021 have been revealed with authors including Ben Aaronovitch (pictured), Richard Coles and Viv Groskop taking part in signings and events.
Running from 19th to 26th June and sponsored by Hachette, the annual celebration of indie bookshops across the UK and Ireland will mark its 15th anniversary and see hundreds of initiatives take place.
This year's event aims to celebrate the resilience and creativity demonstrated by indie booksellers over the past year, in the face of the pandemic.
Authors offering signed copies or bookplates available exclusively from indies include Aaronovitch, Coles, Alex Michaelides, Ben Bailey Smith, Sarah Winman, Esther Freud, Kirsty Capes, Susannah Wise and Carolyn Dunster.
Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell will be designing this year’s Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag, available exclusively from indie bookshops.
Building on the success of 2020, the “indie twinning” strand of the initiative is coming back for a second year, with indie publishers and bookshops teaming up to develop bespoke programmes of activity across the country. Confirmed twinnings include Atlantic Books with multi-award winning bookshop Book-ish in Crickhowell, to present themed exclusive content through Independent Bookshop Week, including a subscription box, interactive online author events and giveaways.
Meanwhile, Usborne Publishing will team up with Rocketship Books in Salisbury, with plans including: a “Find the Duck” trail from Sam Taplin and Simon Taylor-Kielty’s bestselling Poppy and Sam series around Salisbury, leading back to the bookshop. Comma Press will be joining forces with the Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh, to launch forthcoming anthology The American Way, holding a virtual event featuring co-editors Ra Page and Orsola Casagrande in conversation with Lighthouse bookseller Noor Hemani on 23rd June form 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Fitzcarraldo Editions will be twinned with Hastings Bookshop in East Sussex, with celebrations including a pre-publication event of Alice Hattrick's forthcoming Ill Feelings.
Elsewhere on the bill, High Five for Bookshops from National Book Tokens is back for a third year. As people return to the high street once again, bookshops will receive special flyers to give to their most loyal customers. Each one bears a unique code which enables the recipient to download their £5/€5 National Book Tokens e-Gift card. Supporting communications then encourage them to spend it in the same shop where they received it.
Brian Bilston, the unofficial “Poet Laureate of Twitter” and author of Alexa, What is There to Know About Love (Picador), will be writing two exclusive poems in support of the campaign, celebrating the work of indie booksellers.
Andersen Press will also be offering independent bookshops exclusive early releases of two of Mr Benn titles by David McKee – Mr Benn 123456789 and Mr Benn Big Top – ahead of general release in July. Meanwhile, Canongate will be doing an early release exclusively for indies of I Get Loud by David Ouimet, ahead of general release on 1st July. Oi Aardvark (Hachette Children's) will be releasing 500 early copies for IBW. Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier (HQ) will be released early exclusively for indies, together with exclusive Pizza Box point-of-sale material.
Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the Booksellers Association, commented: “It’s been a joy to see customers going back into their local bookshops as restrictions started to ease over the poast few weeks. We’re excited to continue the celebrations into Independent Bookshop Week, marking its 15th anniversary this year. Over the past year, there’s been a refreshed appreciation for independent booksellers and the place they hold at the heart of their high streets and communities. With virtual as well as in-person celebrations taking place across the UK and Ireland, we hope everyone will join us in supporting independent bookshops, and in celebrating their resilience, creativity and indefatigable commitment.”