Victoria Park Books closes to launch new venture

Victoria Park Books closes to launch new venture

Jo De Guia, owner of Victoria Park Books in Hackney, is closing her physical bookshop and will instead supply books at live events.

The bookseller is going to sell books at events through Story Habit, a new initiative launched in partnership with LandSky, the organisers of the Town Hall Tales festival.
De Guia, who owns her bookshop's building in Hackney, said the retail business had become “too overhead heavy to keep as a physical shop when it could be creating income”.

She will sell the retail lease to another business and focus on Story Habit, creating author visits to festivals and workshops, providing books for events, and launching a series of local literature walks.

Events on the calendar for later this year include two Mumsnet conferences, book sales at screenings at the Hackney PictureHouse and a poetry event in Shoreditch Town Hall with Michael Rosen.

De Guia said she and her colleague Will Christian will also be proactive, rather than reactive, and plan events based on upcoming releases.

She also said her local knowledge of the community (Victoria Park Books has been based in Hackney for 10 years) will help get books into the hands of local children.

“Schools, families and booksellers need to work together to help young people access the kind of material that will encourage them to read for themselves, for fun. Especially in diverse areas like EastLondon young people need to be actively helped to develop a reading habit,” she said.

Penny Wrout, director of LandSky, said: “Large, digital booksellers enable mass purchases at a lower price, but this short-term advantage is outweighed by what’s possible when working with an organisation that understands the local community.”

The physical bookshop will close on the 31st July and de Guia said she is sad but excited. “We do like having a physical shop but this change will also free us up to do more exciting things. I’m really excited about the new opportunities Story Habit will bring.”