The owner of Tales on Moon Lane, Tamara Macfarlane, will open another bookshop in South London in April.
Moon Lane Books, which will be located on Stansted Road (between Forest Hill and Catford), will sell diverse and inclusive books, mainly for children, with a small section for adults.
“I wanted the shop to sell a range of books that reflects London’s people – so there will be an emphasis on BAME books and experiences of different socio economic groups, for example,” she told The Bookseller.
The business’ overall ethos is based on "raising equality in children’s books" and it aims to increase the equality of representation of authors it stocks, get books into the hands of more readers and encourage more young people to get involved in the bookshop.
The downstairs area of the new building will be the shop, housing stock from publishers, with an emphasis on emerging authors and illustrators and publishers who specialise in diverse titles, for example Lantana and Alanna Books. The three upstairs rooms will be used for Macfarlane’s education businesses, for example Moon Lane Education, which organises work experience days for local schools.
She also wants to encourage local young people to work in the shop, initially by offering work experience places to her partner school, Harris Girl’s Academy, and eventually by creating work placements with independent publishers.
“I want Moon Lane Books to have a real focus on education,” she said. “The shop will still have consumer appeal, like Tales On Moon Lane, but we will work very closely with teachers for the new business.
“I already work with schools in Southwark and Lambeth, now I want to develop links with schools in Lewisham, Bromley and Greenwich.”
Moon Lane Books will become part of Moon Lane Ink, a not-for-profit community interest company. It is being funded by Macfarlane, her business partner Paul Chin, and a loan. Tereze Brikmane (the current manager of Tales on Moon Lane) is becoming a partner and will act as business manager across both shops, aided by two new full-time members of staff.
The outlet will open on 26th April on the same day Macfarlane’s new comic book is launched. Illustrated by Zimbabwean artist Eugene Ramirez Mapondera, The Comic Shop Mysteries features a heroine with dual British and Zimbabwean heritage and will be published by Troika. “We wanted to create an authentic heroine and hopefully we have also made an identifiable superhero,” Macfarlane said.
She declined to give any sales figures relating to her business but said Tales On Moon Lane, which won Children's Bookshop of the Year at the British Book Awards last year, had its “best year ever” in 2017. She is also excited about the prospects for the new shop. “The area where the shop is coming up and has a lovely energy and enthusiastic people. I’m excited,” she said.
News of the opening follows the revelation that net numbers of independent bookshops increased for the first time in 2017.