A highlight of the literary calendar, Independent Bookshop Week (18th – 25th June) returns once again this year, run by the Booksellers Association, and celebrating the magic of independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland.
And here are a few quick ways you can show your support for your local store and get involved in the festivities.
Poke your head in. The easiest way to show your support is simply by nipping in and perusing the shelves of your nearest store. As Stephanie Bramwell-Lawes put it last year: “There’s nothing quite like the magic of face-to-face conversation…” Get to know your local bookseller, and you’ll find a knowledgable taste-maker and literary matchmaker. You’ll have a list of recommended reads in no time…
Meet your BookTok heroes. The power and influence of BookTok has had a monumental effect on the literary landscape and the wider popular culture over the last year – and its significance is being recognised in this year’s instalment of Independent Bookshop Week, with a number of its leading lights touring their local Indies. Keep an eye out for the likes of daisreads in Manchester, bowiesbooks in Aberdeenshire, and the_caffeinatedreader in Sunderland.
Head to a live event. As always, the Booksellers Association has put together a stellar line-up of author events taking place throughout the week. From Portobello Bookshop in Edinburgh to City Books in Hove, there are talks and signings taking place up and down the UK, with the team at Drake The Bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees once again hosting their popular Great North Author Tour. Check out your local store’s website, and see if they’re hosting your favourite author.
Pick up some merch. You only have to take a look at the totes swinging on our shoulders to know that if there’s one thing all booklovers can’t resist, it’s that sweet literary swag… Go beyond the books, and pick up some branded bits. Special shout outs to the instantly-iconic posters at Gay’s The Word, the wrapping paper at New Beacon Books, and the badges at Category Is Books.
Buy a book subscription. There are few better presents than spoiling that special reader in your life (or indeed yourself…) with a regular supply of books. Mostly Books in Abingdon can set your friend up with a Blind Date with a Book (complete with chocolate and fine teas), Warwick Books offer seasonal gift boxes containing up to three tailored reads, while Sevenoaks Bookshop sell A Year in Books packages – handpicked, hand-wrapped, and sent out monthly based on the recipient’s interests.
Give your local a follow on social media. You’ll get the inside story on upcoming events, instant bookseller recommendations, and be the first to know when the latest release hits their shelves. It’s a chance to connect with nearby book-lovers, and those regularly snaps of the shelves – whether delightfully ramshackle or artfully curated – always make for a nice soothing break from memes, gifs, and tiffs of your daily scroll.
And buy a book. It goes without saying: whatever your interests, whatever’s on your TBR, you’ll find a story to fall in love with at your local bookstore…