Indies predict 'golden age' for bookselling

<p>Two new London independent bookshops opening this autumn are predicting a &quot;golden age&quot; for indies. According to the Booksellers Association (BA), the new shops join more than 60 new indies to open in the past 15 months. BA chief executive Tim Godfray, just back from the Independent Booksellers Forum, said he had been &quot;struck by the positivity&quot; of the 100 indies at the meeting.<br /><p>Godfray said: &quot;They were all only too well aware of the difficulties and challenges that face them but they were determined to develop their strengths and promote them. It was almost a blitz mentality of &#39;roll up your sleeves and get on with it.&#39;&quot;</p><p>Slightly Foxed, the literary quarterly launched by Gail Pirkis in 2003, has acquired the Gloucester Road Bookshop in South Kensington, London. Slightly Foxed will rebrand the store under its own name in 2010. New titles will account for around 20% of stock, including a range of books which Slightly Foxed will review. The rest will be &quot;really good&quot; secondhand books.</p><p>The shop will be managed by Tony Smith, who worked at the Heywood Hill bookshop for 15 years. &quot;We are going back to the old-fashioned type of bookselling, with knowledgeable staff who know their stock,&quot; Pirkis said. &quot;The indie bookseller is set for a return for several reasons: people value a knowledgeable bookseller, they like an individual shop which does not look the same as every other, and they are tired of the hard sell.&quot;</p><p>Literary agents Sarah Lutyens and Felicity Rubinstein, who are launching an independent bookshop on Kensington Park Road in Notting Hill next month, agreed. &quot;There is a sense the role of the indie is coming back to the fore,&quot; said Lutyens. &quot;We would not be opening this bookshop if we didn&#39;t feel that the golden age of the independent was on the horizon.&quot; Former Crockatt &amp; Powell bookseller Claire Harris is to run the shop.</p><p>This month also saw Scottish publisher Fidra Books open a second independent bookshop in Edinburgh.</p><p>In 2008, 83 independent stores closed, while 66 opened, according to BA statistics. It would not say how many had closed over the past 15 months. But Godfray said that there was &quot;no way in which I would subscribe to the fact that indies are dying as a breed&quot;. &quot;Far from it,&quot; he said. &quot;I am hopeful we will see more openings over the next 12 months than the last year.&quot; </p>