Turn the page for Independent Bookshop Week 2020

Turn the page for Independent Bookshop Week 2020


From online events with bestselling authors, to a picture book celebrating key workers, to virtual bookshop crawls, Independent Bookshop Week 2020 (20-27 June) is in full swing this week.

Organised by the Booksellers Association (BA) and sponsored by Hachette, the annual celebration of independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland this year has adapted to include online events to give book lovers across the country access to authors and books during lockdown. The week will celebrate the role indie booksellers have continued to play in building a sense of community during the pandemic, as well as encouraging customers to support their local high street by shopping local at what is a particularly challenging time for small retailers.


Events taking place during IBW include:

  • Meg Rosoff, bestselling author of How I Live Now, will be joining the series of virtual events “At Home with 4 Indies”, created by booksellers from Book-ish (Crickhowell), Linghams (Wirral), Forum Books (Corbridge) and Booka Bookshop (Shropshire). The series, which since the lockdown began has included guests such as Joe Wicks, Robert Webb, David Baldacci, and Marian Keyes offers all book lovers a new, special kind of author event. The event with Meg Rosoff will be live on the At Home with 4 Indies Facebook page on Tuesday 23rd June at 8pm.
  • Meg Rosoff will also be doing an online event with her local indie bookshop The Aldeburgh Bookshop (Suffolk) and Arts Editor of ITV News Nina Nannar, to about her latest book The Great Godden. The event will be streamed on the Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall website on Thursday 25th June at 7pm.
  • Maggie O’Farrell, bestselling author of the Women Prize nominated novel Hamnet, will join At Home with 4 Indies on Friday 26th June at 8pm.
  • Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate will be a holding a virtual bookshop tour on her social channels, featuring a different indie every day for the duration of IBW. Bookshops confirmed so far are Mainstreet Trading (Melrose), Little Ripon (North Yorkshire) and Silverwood Events (Kirkham, Preston), and Mr B’s Emporium (Bath).
  • Damian Barr’s Literary Salon will be hosting a virtual Bookshop Tour during Independent Bookshop Week across all their social platforms, celebrating some of the best indies from across the UK. Every day at 4pm Damian Barr will go live on Instagram with a different independent bookshop, getting a glance at their bookshelves, discussing their ethos, how they’ve coped with lockdown, their favourite books, and more literary loveliness. Follow @damianbarrliterarysalon on Insta and keep an eye out at 4pm each day to join in!
  • Five Leaves Bookshop (Nottingham) will be joining Kate Mosse, Tayari Jones (Women’s Prize 2019 winner), and Ann Patchett (Women’s Prize 2002 winner) in a conversation around 25 years of the Women’s Prize, with a special discount code to purchase a bundle of this year’s shortlisted titles for award. The event will take place over Zoom on Thursday 25th June.
  • 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 with Bookmarks Bookshop (London) on Friday 26th June.
  • Luan Goldie and Julia Bell, novelist, essayist, poet, creative writing course director and author of Radical Attention, will be taking over the social channels of Newham Bookshop (London) and sharing their favourite books available to purchase from Newham.
  • David Constantine, award-winning poet, author and translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, and Goethe, will be doing an Instagram takeover of the Golden Hare Books (Edinburgh) account, sharing his favourite reads.
  • Emma Carroll will be doing Facebook Live events with The Book Nook (Hove) on Thursday 25th June at 11am; and Chicken and Frog bookshop (Essex) at 2pm on Thursday 25th June.
  • Storyteller John Kirk will do a Zoom reading of Roald Dahls’ The Twits hosted by Chicken and Frog bookshop (Essex) on Friday 26th June at 11am.
  • To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Andersen’s Not Now Bernard, rapper, comedian and actor Ben Bailey Smith and Andersen Press founder Klaus Flugge will be doing a virtual storytime on indies’ social media channels throughout the week. Participating bookshops include The Bookcase (Nottingham), Lindum Books (Lincoln), Harbour Bookshop (Kingsbridge, Dorset), Steyning Bookshop, Blue Bear Bookshop (Farnham) Pickled Pepper Books (Crouch End, London), Chicken and Frog (Brentwood), Browsers (Porthmadog), Barnett Books (Wadhurst), Little Ripon Bookshop, Westbourne Bookshop (Bournemouth).
  • Join author, feminist and political activist Esua Jane Goldsmith, author of the memoir The Space Between Black and White, for her event via Zoom with October Books (Southampton) on Thursday 25th June at 7pm. To register for the free event and for more information, please click here.
  • Griffin Books (Penarth) have put together a whole range of digital activities, including an Online Creative Writing Workshop via Zoom with Children’s Laureate Wales, Eloise Williams on Wednesday 24th June at 2pm (ticketed), a Meet the Author event with James Naughtie, one of Britain’s leading broadcasters and explores about his latest book, On the Road: American Adventures from Nixon to Trump, on Wednesday 24th June at 8pm (ticketed), as well as social media giveaways, live bed story times, book chat groups and more.
  • Burley Fisher Books (Haggerton, London) will be taking part in a special episode of the Vintage Podcast, hosted by Leena Normington.
  • Skyes & Savidge Book Club, the official Independent Bookshop Week Book Club for 2020 with radio and TV presenter Melanie Skyes and influencer Simon Savidge, will hold a special session discussing Graceland by Bethan Roberts on Thursday 25th June.
  • Booktuber Lauren and the Books will be hosting a special Indie Bookshop Week #cosyreadingnight on Saturday 27th June between 7pm and 10pm.
  • As the RNA celebrates its 60th anniversary, the Romantic Novelists’ Association is partnering with Independent Bookshop Week to host a virtual bookshop crawl, with bookseller interviews and book recommendations throughout the week.
  • The Bookshop Band will be holding an Indie Bookshop Week Special Live Concert on Friday 26th June at 8.30pm.


  • An early release of Meg Rosoff’s new children’s book, The Great Godden will be available exclusively in indie bookshops during Independent Bookshop Week, with signed copies and tote bags available for customers, before its general release in July.
  • Thank You, Heroes, a new picture book celebrating key workers by Patricia Hegarty and Michael Emmerson has been release exclusively in indies, ahead of wider publication in July. Little Tiger will be donating all publisher profits on UK sales to NHS Charities.
  • The Betrayals by Bridget Collins, the number one bestselling author of The Binding, will be open for pre-orders starting from Independent Bookshop Week, ahead of publication in November. The special edition of the book, available exclusively from indies, will be signed and will come with a beautiful bookmark.
  • To celebrate the tenth book in his Claude series (publishing 15th October), author and illustrator Alex T. Smith will offer a limited number of signed Claude prints exclusively for indies and their customers. Alex will also be designing virtual bookshop windows in his stylish hand-lettering featuring his characters, for five indies including to use on their social profiles.
  • Bloomsbury is planning special discounts for indie bookstores on several of its titles, including the Sunday Times bestseller Humankind by Rutger Bregman.


To underline the many ways in which small businesses are supporting each other at this difficult time, IBW will see independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland being “twinned” with indie publishers. Twinned bookshops and publishers include:

  • Saraband Books (Glasgow and Manchester), indie publisher of fiction, nature writing, and environmental reads will be twinned with Sam Read Bookseller (Grasmere, Lake District).
  • Publishers of “the best of Chinese literature”, Sinoinst Books (West Sussex) will be promoting Sussex indies Steyning Bookshop (Steyning), Much Ado Books (Alfriston) and Kemp Town Bookshop (Brighton) throughout the week via its social channels.
  • Indie publisher Wrecking Ball Press (Hull) will be partnering with The Rabbit Hole (Brigg) and will be hosting virtual events with a selection of their authors, providing signed titles and more.
  • Bluemoose Books (West Yorkshire) is pairing up with Bookish in Crickhowell, Forum Books in Corbridge, Drake in Stockton, The Book Corner in Halifax and Kenny’s in Limerick.

For updates and to join the conversation on social media, follow @booksaremybag and #IndieBookshopWeek.

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