A new online venture, Bookshop.org, has been launched with the aim of supporting your local independent bookshop which they see as essential to a healthy culture.
As anchors on our high streets our booskshops connect authors with readers, introduce us to new writers and help children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime.
The plan is, that as more and more people buy their books online, bookshop.org want to create an easy, convenient way for us to get our books and support local bookshops at the same time. If you want to find a specific one to help, they can be found on the main website map. Your bookshop will then receive the full profit from your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookshops. They want to give back to everyone who promotes books, authors, and independent bookshops!
Bookshop.org say: ‘We hope we can help strengthen the fragile ecosystem and margins around bookselling and keep local bookshops an integral part of our culture and communities.’
This is a great idea and needs our support. Check the link.
Congratulations to Douglas Stuart on winning the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction with his debut novel Shuggie Bain. He receives the £50,000 prize, a trophy, a designer-bound edition of his book and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.
Shuggie Bain is based on Stuart’s childhood, growing up in Thatcher’s Glasgow of the 1980s, with a mother who is battling addiction – she died of alcoholism when he was 16. He began writing in his spare time a decade ago.
Margaret Busby, 2020 chair of judges, said: ‘Shuggie Bain is destined to be a classic — a moving, immersive and nuanced portrait of a tight-knit social world, its people and its values. The heart-wrenching story tells of the unconditional love between Agnes Bain — set on a descent into alcoholism by the tough circumstances life has dealt her — and her youngest son. Shuggie struggles with responsibilities beyond his years to save his mother from herself, at the same time as dealing with burgeoning feelings and questions about his own otherness. Gracefully and powerfully written, this is a novel that has impact because of its many emotional registers and its compassionately realised characters. The poetry in Douglas Stuart’s descriptions and the precision of his observations stand out: nothing is wasted.’
Shuggie Bain is published by Grove Press.
As a former bookseller I’m delighted that some bookshops have been able to re-open despite the massive constraints they find themselves under. Heaven knows how they are going to manage with social distancing, hand sanitisers, masks and having to quarantine books every time they are touched. Like many browsers I spend time leafing through books, putting them back, sorting through shelves and, in quite a few cases, coming away having not made a decision – and NO it isn’t so I can find it cheaper on line!
In a Guardian article on Sunday 14 June (‘Now wash your hands: Ripon’s indie shops brace for the big reopening’), Donna Ferguson featured an Indie bookshop in the town coincidentally called The Ripon Bookshop. Owner Gill Edwards has been keeping going offering free deliveries of books to local customers and hosting book club meetings via Zoom. Obviously sales are down, but she’s confident they can still make a huge difference locally, even though they are fighting the big online sellers.
So support the open bookshops – they deserve it.