Support Independent Booksellers Week

Whyte Books, the bookshop in West Cork

My local independent bookshop – even lovelier on the inside!

In case you weren’t aware, we’re in the middle of Independent Booksellers Week – a worthy celebration for writers, readers and booksellers alike.

Contrary to belief, independent booksellers are not a dying breed (read this post from Bob at The Gutterbookshop if you don’t believe me). But the fact remains that they could become extinct, if not supported.

The beauty of independent bookshops is that they are not monopolised by trends or marketing departments or limited to the bestsellers list. The buyers (who usually turn out to also be the owner, barista, baker, counter assistant & accountant) are free to stock the books that reflect the varied tastes of their customers.

That means knowing their customers well and catering to their needs. In other words, delivering a very personal service. Like the Independent Booksellers Week motto says: real people, real books, real conversation.

For me, the most wonderful thing about independent bookshops is that the bookshop is also someone’s dream. Independent bookshop owners adore what they do because it is their passion, their calling.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

An incredible book – one of those I wish I’d written! highly recommend.

As writers, this is something we can easily relate to. And don’t forget, we also need homes for our books – especially much-loved bookshelves created from someone else’s dreams.

So when was the last time you bought a book from your local independent bookstore?

Yes, ordering a basket full of books from Amazon and get them delivered to your door is convenient – but where’s the personal touch? The lively debate about which titles to select? The surprise of an unexpected recommendation?

And of course, a big chain bookstore has much to offer. I’m not suggesting a boycott, I’m just reminding you that independent bookstores also have plenty to offer and need your support too.

My most recent purchases were John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and TransAtlantic by Colum McGann.

What will you buy from your independent bookseller today?


5 thoughts on “Support Independent Booksellers Week

  1. Rich says:

    Just ordered Claire Kilroy’s new one from Kenny’s. It may be online, but then I live a little too far (in US) from a good Irish indie bookstores to pop over every time I need a book. We have some good stores around here, thankfully. But the year+ wait for Irish books to get a US publisher is just too long.

    • ERMurray says:

      Yes, the wait is rather frustrating. And from speaking to people, I’ve realised indie bookshops are few and far between in the States. You never know, maybe they’ll trend again? How’s the Claire Kilroy?

      • Rich says:

        I wouldn’t call them few & far, but then I was an indie bookseller for years, so may be accustomed to being defensive about them;-) It depends where you live: some cities have a critical mass, but most have one at best, and there are many blacks spots without any. So, yes, they are few and far right now, but they seem to be stronger than they have been in years, and there are several good new ones popping up. So, finger’s crossed.

        No sign of the Kilroy yet. Probably this week.

      • ERMurray says:

        Having never been to the States (YET, may I add) I’m glad the outlook for indie book stores is more positive than had been suggested! Any sign of the Kilroy?

      • Rich says:

        Yep, it arrived last week. I have to read the new Julian Gough first (shouldn’t take long as it’s tiny) then finish another review. Then I get to reward myself by reading Kilroy.

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