Lord Bird is to host a discussion about the recently-proposed Independent Bookshop Alliance at the House of Lords next month.
Following the controversy surrounding the deep discounting of Philip Pullman’s first The Book of Dust novel last year and Waterstones' exclusive deal to sell 5,000 signed special editions of the title, Simon Key, co-owner of the Big Green Bookshop in London’s Wood Green, proposed setting up an independent bookshop alliance through which indies can work together to negotiate better discounts and exclusive offers with publishers.
The proposal has received a "fantastic" response, with over 120 expressing interest since the idea was first mooted last month.
Now Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue, is to host an event in parliament to raise the profile of the alliance. At the end of March, a room has been reserved at the House of Lords for range of figures from across the industry discuss the plans for the operation.
“This is phenomenal and I couldn't be more grateful to Lord Bird for giving us this platform”, said Key. “Things are really beginning to happen and it's great that we've managed to maintain the momentum.”
In the mean time, Key said that participating shops were in the process of highlighting the titles they may want to talk to publishers about, with the view of getting some form of exclusive indie-only deal. The shops will also be considering how to persuade publishers to organise author visits outside the capital and also revisiting discussions about business rate relief for bookshops.
Bookshops interested in participating in the discussion should email firstname.lastname@example.org, saying YES.
Bird recently organised a debate in the House of Lords about the significance of libraries and bookshops in UK society.