Friday, June 13, 2008

It's my party...

So, it's the inaugural Independent Booksellers Week starting on the 1st of July and running to the 8th. Needless to say it's a party we won't be going to.

I've never signed up to this idea of 'celebrating' independent bookselling, you're either a good bookshop or you're not, it really doesn't matter where the money comes from. A semi-regular customer this morning who commutes into Waterloo was moaning about his local independent that he'd like to buy from except they never have any interesting stock and the staff are rude. What's to celebrate there then?

There seems to be a real hand-wringing whininess among certain independents that they somehow deserve customers just because of their independence. Nonsence. You need to have a nice shop, great staff, top stock and a willingness to listen - all attributes of C&P, OF COURSE! (And dare I say it, some branches of chain bookshops in selected locations...)

And can someone please explain to me the logic of having exactly the same point of sale material for a promotion in 320 independent shops up and down the country? Isn't it the total opposite of whatever independence might stand for to be confronted by the same displays in every bloody shop?

Anyway, rant over. Shouldn't get wound up. Must concentrate on our party...


  1. US BookstoreJune 16, 2008

    It's not where the money comes from that matters, it's where it goes. And I've never seen a chain store in the U.S. worth celebrating. I've seen some that are sort of OK, for half an hour, and then I want to leave. I do agree with you on the silliness of 300 independent stores all promoting the same books.

  2. You're spot-on: of my 3 favourite bookshops in Adelaide, Australia, two are independents and one, Dymocks, is of a chain, but is well-stocked, has polite, knowledgeable staff, and the chain is Australian-owned rather than being some US-based Borders-ian behemoth.