Today is the start of Independent Bookshop Week so Liz Fenwick is giving us some tips on how we can support Independent Booksellers.

Every year I look forward to this event. 2020 marks the sixtieth year of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and it was planned to join forces with the Booksellers’ Association to celebrate books and bookshops. Fun events had been planned to champion bookshops and what the RNA members do best – love stories for all. Because of the pandemic things have changed for everyone. Events for authors have been cancelled or moved online where possible.

Thanks to Covid 19 the ways to support bookshops for many are limited. However, you can support them. In England bookshops opened this week and many have been trading online during the lockdown. So even if you can’t visit…you can order for delivery or for collection. Some bookshop are even doing a local delivery service.

I have been saving up the books I want to buy for this week, but I know I will discover books I didn’t know I wanted or needed. Independent booksellers are the best at recommendations…so if I say ‘I loved Iona Grey’s The Glittering Hour and Jill Mansell’s It Started With a Secret what would you recommend I read next?’ I know I will discover books no algorithm would ever show me.

Bookshops provide a beating heart to the communities lucky enough to have them. Reading stories as we know can transport you to places you’d like to be. RNA members books will take you there with hopeful endings to lift your heart. For example…I immediately think of Rosanna Ley’s stories for Italy, Jo Thomas’s for France; or if I want to delve into the past then Elizabeth Chadwick’s, Jean Fullerton’s or Dilly Court’s fit the bill; or closer to home with Katie Fforde, Veronica Henry, Sue Morecroft, Cathy Bramley or Phillippa Ashley; laugh out loud with Milly Johnson or Jill Mansell. I could go on…

Now more than ever in this time out of time, we need stories that give us an escape and offer us hope. Bookshops do the same. Let’s celebrate them by shouting loudly on social media, in conversation, and by buying books from them (and remember if they don’t have it in stock they will order it for you).

To support indie bookshops now:

  1. Signup to their newsletter
  2. Buy books – in person or online
  3. Post pictures of the books tagging the bookshop
  4. Start a conversation about people’s favourite bookshop in person or online
  5. If able, visit them and post pictures of your visit
  6. Post on social media with the hashtag #IndieBookshopWeek and tag @booksaremybag

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