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Department of Information Studies


Independent Bookshop Alliance

By uczcmsm, on 24 January 2018

You may have heard of Simon Key: the Big Green Bookshop Twitter star? He is famed for his phrases ‘I am in a train’ and ‘My kids are asleep’ and his incredible customer service over Twitter. His refreshing openness about the trials and tribulations of being a bookseller and even honest sales numbers posted on Twitter are appreciated by his many followers.

Following the deep discounting of Philip Pullman’s Book of Dust, Simon proposed an ‘Indie Alliance’. Philip Pullman is a huge supporter of bookshops and sees deep discounting as ‘the true book lovers enemy’. Book of Dust, however, was being hugely discounted at 50% by Waterstones, Foyles, WHSmith and Amazon. Pullman was criticised for signing 5,000 copies of the title exclusively for Waterstones and therefore excluding the independent bookshops for whom he so often campaigns. For an in-depth commentary on the controversy, take a look at The Secret Bookseller.

Anyway, back to the ‘Indie Alliance’ (which, by the way,  I think would be a good movie title). Simon, the Big Green Bookshop man I’ve mentioned already, posted a call out to bookshops to express interest in his idea. He believes that independent bookshops can work together to negotiate better discounts and indie offers. Within 6 days Simon had an overwhelming response from more than 90 independent bookshops across the UK. Now that should make publishers listen.

Simon told the bookseller that the next stage is to set up a forum so independent bookshops can communicate and discuss what they’d like from the alliance. He is also meeting various trade members this week who have expressed interest in ways they can help. The alliance has also ‘tentatively’ received an offer of funding – so watch this space!

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