Just thought i'd post an update on the Independent Bookshop Alliance.
So, there are now about 120 bookshops interested in joining forces to give us more negotiating powers.
We are in the process of highlighting the major titles that we'd be may want to talk to publishers about with a view to get some form of exclusive indie only deal.
The ideas and feedback from the bookshops about how this thing will work has been priceless. There are so many issues facing independent bookshops that, when I first mooted the idea, I hadn't really thought about.
We are very lucky being based in London, when it comes to author visits. Many of the shops that aren't in the capital have told me that they find it hard to persuade publishers to organise visits and this is something else we're looking at.
There are also discussions going on about business rate relief for bookshops, on which some work has been done in the past, but it's certainly something we want revisit.
And here is some exciting news.
Lord Bird (founder of The Big Issue) has been in touch. He's a passionate advocate of literacy in the House of Lords and has very kindly organised an event in Parliament for us to raise the profile of independent booksellers.
So, at the end of March, a room has been reserved for us at the House of Lords where we're inviting people from across the industry, and those who could play a part in helping us achieve our goals to come along to discuss our plans.
This is phenomenal and I couldn't be more grateful to Lord Bird for giving us this platform.
Things are really beginning to happen and it's great that we've managed to maintain the momentum.
If there are any indie bookshops that are interested in joining the discussion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, just saying YES and we'll add you to the forum that's been set up. Your input is vital if this is going to work, so please do get in touch.