Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Independent bookshops should be "hub" of community says IBF

17.05.10 | Victoria Gallagher in The Bookseller

Author events, working with libraries and being the "hub" of the community were just some of the suggestions of how indies can prosper, discussed at the Independent Booksellers Forum yesterday (16th May).

The event held at the Russell Hotel, London attracted over 100 delegates and focused on "forging partnerships in pursuit of business growth". Chair Jo Howard kicked off proceedings, saying she sensed that independent bookselling is "more vibrant" today despite challenges from both the internet and chain booksellers.

Andrew Cant, of Simply Books in Bramhall, said that working with publishers on individual ideas was one way to increase interest in independent bookshops. "Within indies it is often the small ideas that grow," said Cant. He provided the case of Simply Books working with Barefoot Books on activity around children's title Starlight Sailor in which over 600 paper "wish-boats" were made.

Cant said: "Footfall increased because people were coming in to see their nearest and dearest's efforts of making a paper boat. Sales at Christmas were up 17%, so it had a significant commercial impact as well as a community talking point."

Emma Milne-White of The Hungerford Bookshop in Berkshire, suggested that becoming the "hub" of the community could help indies to prosper. She suggested booksellers should look for events that they could "piggyback off" including the likes of festivals and fetes. "What's good for the town will nearly always be good for you," Milne-White added.
More at The Bookseller.

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