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Support your local indy bookstore

It was so nice to find a lovely indy bookshop in the shopping street.

It was so nice to find a lovely indy bookshop in the shopping street.


Last weekend, I stopped by the Horizons Bookshop in Burnham. I met the owner, a woman with a real passion for books and reading, and it occurred to me how much we miss when we buy books online.

Forget the argument about real book v e-book – that’s for another day. I’m talking about the sort of personal service you get from a bricks and mortar bookshop.

In particular from an independent bookshop.

I read the other day that there are less than a thousand independent book shops in the UK. That’s a terrifyingly small number of independents to serve more than 63 million people. (Gets out phone, finds calculator app) That’s only one independent book store for more than 63,000 people. I probably should not need a calculator to do that.

There are of course, WH Smiths and Waterstones – and they do have cheaper books because they buy in bulk. But what they don’t have is the local touch. The books stocked by the chains are for the most part decided by someone at head office, and they are unlikely to wander far from the mass market best sellers. The local store managers have little say in what goes on their shelves, what authors visit or what events take place.

This is where independent bookshops are so wonderful. They can stock whatever books they think their local community will like. They are free to organize events and signings and… anything really that will help more people find books they enjoy reading.

So – I say – support your independent book shop!!!

Next time you feel like finding something new and different to read – go to an independent bookshop. Pat a book or two. You might just find something interesting there. Something that takes your reading in a new direction.

Webmaster John found a really interesting book on maps at Horizons… he wouldn’t have seen that on Amazon!!

I was delighted to find a display of Choc Lit titles - including my new release. Indy bookshops rock!

I was delighted to find a display of Choc Lit titles – including my new release. Indy bookshops rock!

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13 Responses to Support your local indy bookstore

  • I couldn’t agree more, Janet! We have a wonderful local bookshop in our country town an hour north of Melbourne, and it is very well supported. They love books, had had a long-running bookshop in Melbourne, but thought Gisborne needed one. People go in for recommendations as the owners and their assistants read so many of the books they stock.

    The service they offer is a valuable one for the community and serves as a great social hub, too. I’m always bumping into acquaintances or friends at the book shop. And Natasha and Mark, the owners, are always organising the start-up of new book groups, which obviously is a great sign.

    • There is one in my home town in Queensland – and it offers books that the big chains don’t carry. There isn’t one near my UK home. We need to support these shops. It they get swallowed up by the big chains, we will all lose something important.

  • Janet, you have touched on a very critical element of the reading experience – community. I’m not sure what the stats are for indie bookstores in the U.S., but I was shocked to realize recently that in the big, modern, progressive city of Tampa, FL, there’s only one I could locate. Inkwood Books is exactly what I was looking for in an independent bookstore: selection based on local interest, not just what’s on the some book buyer’s list.
    Reading is a personal experience for each of us, but I like it best when my experience begins with the selection of that next book. Sort of like the anticipation of Christmas.
    I sincerely hope that quaint, neighborhood bookstores like these aren’t taken down by the digital age.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The reading experience does begin with the selection of a book, and a bricks and motor shop allows you to browse and find some real gems. Digital books are convenient – and I do buy them, but I always buy paper books too. If we all bought even one or two paper books a year from an independent shop, it would help save something important.

  • Excellent! And thanks to Horizon Bookshop for such a great display.

  • What a fabulous bookshop! The local independents do a great job for us.

    • They do – they are willing to stock books that they think their local community will like. That’s something a supermarket or a chain will never match.

  • What a wonderful bookstore and so glad to see there are some still withstanding the onslaught of the big chains. We have one still remaining in our town in NZ and it’s a treasure.

    A big cheer also for being a Choclit champ! Many thanks for your support.

  • Zana, I wonder if it is mostly the small towns that keep indy bookshops. Horizons was in a small village. Maybe that’s because of the sense of community. Whatever the reason, long may it continue.

  • I’m in Australia at the moment, and I agree absolutely. I had an excellent relationship with my indie in my last town, but when we moved to a new town in December, I was faced with an indie bookshop which didn’t want to know me. Sigh. My old indie is selling two of my books a day. The new one could have gone down the same road! Is it any wonder some of them fail?

    in England, there isn’t a bookshop in our town, so it’s hard to support anyone. However, I noticed one featured on line in a nearby town and shall investigate them this coming northern summer. I do most firmly believe we need indies.

    • I wonder if there are more independents in Australia, generally, Anna. I always think there are more indie shops of all types there – the chains don’t seem to have taken over quite so much. Of course, that could just be wishful thinking.

  • I found an independent bookshop in Chorleywood and bought a book I’d never have heard about if it hadn’t been for their display and recommendation. I’d forgotten how much I love browsing in a bookshop … I really miss that

Writing retreats 2020 - Intensive tutor-led retreats with Janet Gover and Alison May

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild OneColorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild One
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