Newham Bookshop is being forced from its east London premises after 40 years in business, and publishers and authors including Ken Follett and Nigella Lawson have donated books to a fund-raising auction to help it reopen in a neighbouring premises.
The bookshop is currently seeking donations from publishers in the form of books for a grand auction taking place on 21st October to help raise the £25,000 needed to save the East London indie. A crowdfunding campaign will also be launched on the night.
According to Newham Books' manager Vivian Archer, who has worked in the shop for more than 31 years, the store's future is in the balance because of a decision to turn the two floors above its current premises into offices; the landlord's plans involve losing two thirds of the shop itself to make way for a staircase to get to those offices, and closing for a number of months. Fortunately, although Newham Bookshop will have to move from 747 Barking Road, there is a vacancy two doors down at 743 Barking Road, next to the children's shop run by John Newman; however a large amount of renovation would be required to bring that space up to standard.
"We're going to move two doors down but it's going to cost us a lot of money: £25,000," Archer told The Bookseller. "The premises we want to move to are not in a good condition - we would have to rewire, put heating in... we would have to do everything."
Since turning to social media to raise awareness of its plight last week, Newham Books has received a groundswell of support, both from within the trade and the Newham community it serves. In a bid to support the indie's move, already 250 book donations have so far been made, including signed copies from Ken Follett, Nigella Lawson, and Neil Gaiman. A tweet it sent encouraging donations meanwhile received more than 2,000 RTs, with even the local gym offering help in the form of packing and moving boxes.
"The response already has been amazing," Archer said. "We've yet to start crowdfunding but there's been loads of support. Big names like Ken Follett and Nigella Lawson have sent us signed copies for the auction and publishers have been phenomenal. It's been quite moving actually."
To get in touch with Newham Books to make a donation to its moving fund, Archer is contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in donating titles can also send copies direct to 747 Barking Road, London E13 9ER. The auctioning off of titles in support of Newham Books takes place on Sunday 21st October at The Wanstead Tap (6pm) and will be attended by the shop's supporters, including authors such as Vaseem Khan, crime writer of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra.
Newham Bookshop was originally founded in 1978 as part of the service of the fledgling Newham Parents’ Centre, whose offices and education rooms were adjacent to and above the shop. While the centre has since moved, the bookshop has continued to help east Londoners become readers. Recently Newham Books celebrated its 40th birthday, was named one of the six winners of Pan Macmillan's Independent Bookshop Innovation Award for its work supporting a local charity, Arc in the Park.
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