Southampton's October Books saved by customers

Southampton's October Books saved by customers

Southampton based-independent bookseller October Books has been saved from closure following an outpouring of public support.

The cooperative-run bookshop appealed to customers to help it raise £6,000 to renew its lease or face imminent closure after 37 years of business.

Ian Lemming, who works in the shop, said that after hearing of its plight, customers travelled for miles to buy a book, donate money to the business or agree a loan just one week after the appeal launched on Facebook.

“Sales have almost doubled in one week,” Lemming said. “I think in the next few days, we will reach our target.”

Lemming said the bookshop was inspired to launch the appeal to raise money after The Big Green Bookshop in London’s Wood Green launched a similar successful appeal to pay off a loan in 2011. 

October Books needs the £6,000 sum to pay higher rent its landlord is charging, as well as the solicitor costs for negotiating a new lease deal.

“One customer popped in from 10 miles away just to support us,” Lemming said. “Customers are saying they don’t want to lose their independent bookshop, and there is also a lot of hostility towards Amazon around.”

Lemming said many of the bookshop’s customers have now been converted to buying books on Gardners’ Hive website, for which the bookshop then receives a commission.