Independent Bookshop Week: A Guide

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Celebrate 'the beating heart of publishing' this June

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There’s something special about independent bookshops, with their cosy alcoves and shelves stacked high with books old and new. Over the past few years we’ve seen a resurgence in love for them, but like most small businesses the pandemic has put their survival at risk. There are, however, many ways to keep supporting our beloved bookshops – one being to get involved with Independent Bookshop Week.

Launched in 2006 and organised annually by the Booksellers Association, the week-long event is designed to celebrate independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland. This year’s event has been adapted to include online aspects, with a particular focus on the role booksellers have continued to play in building a sense of community during the pandemic.

Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the BA, said: ‘In this immensely challenging time, we hope that book lovers across the country will enjoy the many fantastic online events and exclusive editions on offer from indie bookshops, while remembering to choose bookshops and shop local.’

‘Indie bookshops do so much for readers and writers—they’re the beating heart of publishing,’ adds writer Damian Barr, who is participating in the week’s events.

Taking place from 20-27 June, the eclectic programme will include virtual author events, bookshop tours, interviews, book clubs and more. Here are some of the highlights.

Independent Bookshop Week: Event Highlights

Toppings, Bath

20 June

To celebrate National Reading Group Day, The Reading Agency will be encouraging book groups across the UK to read The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. There will be a discussion with Lefteri on Facebook on 20 June.

21 June

Together musician and author Tim Burgess and writer and DJ Dave Haslam will be doing a book-inspired DJ set, with a special playlist released on Spotify at 2pm on 21 June.

23 June

Meg Rosoff, author of How I Live Now, will be live on ‘At Home with 4 Indies’, a virtual event series created by a group of booksellers, which has seen guest appearances from the likes of Joe Wicks and Marian Keyes. Catch Rosoff at 8pm, live on At Home with 4 Indies Facebook page.

Onjali Q. Rauf – the children’s author shortlisted in the Indie Book Awards for The Star Outside My Window – will be doing an event with The Book Nook (Hove) at 11am.

Maggie O'Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell by Murdo Macleod

25 June

Author, feminist and political activist Esua Jane Goldsmith will be hosting an event on Zoom with October Books (Southampton) at 7pm.

Skyes & Savidge Book Club, the official Independent Bookshop Week Book Club for 2020, will hold a special session with presenter Melanie Sykes, discussing Graceland by Bethan Roberts.

Meg Rosoff will be doing an online event with her local indie bookshop The Aldeburgh Bookshop in Suffolk, along with Arts Editor of ITV News Nina Nannar, about her latest book, The Great Godden. The event will be streamed on the Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall website at 7pm.

26 June

Storyteller John Kirk will do a Zoom reading of Roald Dahl’s The Twits, hosted by Chicken and Frog bookshop (Essex) at 11am.

The Bookshop Band will hold an Indie Bookshop Week Special Live Concert at 8.30pm.

Steve Chambers and Luan Goldie, co-authors of Resist: Stories of Uprising, a collection of stories and essays exploring two millennia of British protest, will be doing a Facebook Live event.

27 June

YouTuber Lauren and the Books will be hosting a special Indie Bookshop #cosyreadingnight at 7pm and 10pm.

Throughout the week

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell by Debra Hurford Brown

  • The Romantic Novelists’ Association is partnering with Independent Bookshop Week to host a virtual bookshop crawl, with bookseller interviews and book recommendations running throughout the week.
  • Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate, will be holding a virtual bookshop tour on her social channels, featuring a different indie every day.
  • Every day at 4pm Damian Barr will go live on Instagram with a different independent bookshop, offering viewers a glance of their bookshelves.

Exclusive Books

  • Meg Rosoff’s new children’s book, The Great Godden, will be available exclusively in independent bookshops during the week, ahead of its general release in July.
  • Thank You, Heroes, a new picture book celebrating key workers by Patricia Hegarty and Michael Emmerson, will be released in independent bookshops from 20 June, ahead of wider publication in July. Little Tiger will be donating all publisher profits on UK sales to NHS charities.
  • Bloomsbury is planning special discounts for indie bookstores on several of its titles, including the Sunday Times bestseller Humankind by Rutger Bregman.

Visit for more information.

Best Independent Bookshops in London / Online Book Clubs To Join Now