Travelogue of Independent Bookshops

Link to pdf

Link to pdf

I’ve finally got all the indie bookshops that I know of listed into a working document.

This link will take you to the start of the document http://www.indiebookshops.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Independent-Bookshops-Use-This-One.pdf where you can see if I’ve included your favourite bookshop.

The initial setup is by country, but bookshops will eventually be listed in their respective counties, so that they can be found easier.

The plan is to have address, contact details, website, and social media links added. There will then be a bit of a description of each shop, if it specialises (e.g. children’s), and some images.

If the bookshop has done a #BrowseABookshop feature they will get a box-out in the directory to highlight this.

This pdf is just the start but from now on it will become part of a reward tier on my Patreon, and sent out whenever it’s updated to people on that tier, aiming for once a month update.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Snowball

A few years back I had an idea that seemed as though it could be quite nice, a small personal project that I can do in my down time from work, something that may be fun and give me something to do on the darker evenings.

I’ve always had a pile of little projects floating around the Internet when something takes my interest, Tumblrs, Flickrs, WordPress and Blogger blogs, and lots of other little bitty info dumps. Lists, galleries, maps, all the techy things that took my interest at the time.

I also had what felt like a good domain and twitter account hanging around from what was going to be a collaborative project with others which just fizzled into nothing and the domain was at the stage of keep or let it go back into the ether.

Why not list and make a map of as many bookshops in the UK as you can and visit as many as you can?

Even though that is still at the core of everything I do it quickly got out of hand, and I mean really quickly.

One of my earliest twitter posts was seen and boosted by the wonderful Michael Rosen and suddenly I had several hundred people suggesting their favourite indie bookshop, and the rest as they say is history.

Some of the most recent stats from the project are these:

  • averaging 800 hits a day on the blog
  • averaging 300 clicks out to bookshops a day
  • over 12000 followers on twitter
  • tweets got over 1.5 million impressions in the last 28 days
  • average of 2% tweet interaction (seemingly that’s good?)
  • seven Patreons!

Overall the project feels successful and popular and is building more and more momentum daily, there was some project creep when those pesky independent publishers joined the party but it’s ok as most of them seem quite nice.

There is still so much more I want to do with the website, some plans for the future are:

  • restart and expand the Browse a Bookshop feature
  • restart and expand the Publisher Profile feature
  • visit as many bookshops and publishers as I can to take pictures and talk for:
  • a YouTube channel and podcast highlighting bookshops and publishers

What this project has also done has made me realise I needed to consolidate all my little bitty projects onto my personal blog Big Bearded Bookseller.

I love all the people I meet doing this and I’m having great fun, though at times it does feel like a lot of work it’s work that I’m still doing for me and if others get benefit from it that’s brilliant.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Read Write Walk North East

LJ Ross

LJ Ross

I received a press release over the weekend and have been dying to share it with you all!

LJ Ross, yes that LJ Ross, has launched an initiative to support the North East through these difficult times and into the future. Celebrating and recognising the area as a culturally important region.

In this initiative there are going to be multiple programmes, all related to and based in the North East, and all sound absolutely brilliant. There’s a brief description of each below but for more information visit her website at ljrossauthor.com

Literary walking trails
Walks where you follow the footsteps of DCI Ryan. But with more, GPS linked to your smartphone. Hopefully you won’t find any grisly remains, but these will take you around the North East and help boost local communities.

Northern Photography Prize
Now, I’m actually going to be entering this, a prize for photographs celebrating the North East. Landscape and portrait categories, all again through LJ Ross’ Dark Skies Publishing arm.

Lindisfarne Prize for Crime Fiction
This has been going on for a couple of years and will continue, with submissions for 2021 open already.

Lindisfarne Children’s Prize
This is new for 2021 also, a prize and celebration of young writers in partnership with schools in the North East.

Lindisfarne Reading Challenge
An extension of the pilot of a reading scheme developed to help disadvantaged teens, encouraging them to read books that they want to read and supporting their choices.

Dark Skies Community Fund
This is a bit of a biggie, a fund to help North East small businesses to have a bit of breathing space and do something active to respond to what’s happening.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

punkgirldiaries zine

punkgirldiaries

punkgirldiaries

I was sent the third edition of punkgirldiaries zine to have a look at and see what I thought (me being an old punk and all that).

I’ve always loved zines as a format and have been involved with a few in the 70s and 80s, the compactness, DIY-ethos, and the focus on a small, but significant to you, subject. What greater subject than punk.

First impression on opening the envelope was ‘badge!’, yes I’m that easily pleased, and have loved badges since the punk days, still having loads in boxes and drawers. Then it was ‘poster!’, these people really know how to keep me happy.

Once I had got over the giddiness of some nice merchandise I had a look at the zine itself, wonderful quality, colourful, and when I had a browse of the contents page looked packed full of great things, interviews, art, opinion pieces, all with that punk sensibility.

Some great articles, especially loved the interview with Fliss Kitson from Violet Violet, great insight into post-punk music in the 90s and how the DIY ethos was still rocking it. The interview with Lesley Wood brought back a lot of memories, loved them, but I also loved Penetration with Pauline Murray. A great selection of interviews supported with fun articles.

Loved the little Siouxsie bio (first saw them when Marco and Sid were in the band), the section about the sneer was great fun though too often was seen as though we could do nothing else, got a lot of grief for going to roller discos in 79, and that was very restrained article about Thatcher.

Overall a great punky zine that gathers great info and puts a new twist on it with great production value.

Well worth getting.

The website can be found @ www.punkgirldiaries.com


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Pass the Bookplate

Pass the Bookplate

Pass the Bookplate

Tamsin Rosewell and SF Said have been working behind the scenes for a while now organising ‘Pass the Bookplate’.

With a lot of UK bookshops planning a partial open for the 15th of June this was planned as a way to support and get some more sales, at least during that first month.

SF Said has a post on his blog which I’ll quote part of:

So we’ve made a simple, low-cost plan that can happen fast! Tamsin Rosewell from Kenilworth Books has used their bookshop network to ask high profile authors to sign bundles of bookplates for independent bookshops. The last thing bookshops need right now is to have to take a risk on buying signed stock. If we can instead send them signed bookplates, bookshops can order what they need, when they need it, and sell these bookplated books in a steady stream.

If you’re a bookseller and you’d like to join in, let @IndieBookshopUK know – Stephen Baird has been helping us plan the simplest way to manage this. We’ll be dividing up the bookplates as fairly as possible and posting them out as they come in. Tamsin has envelopes and a whole load of large letter stamps to hand!

We’d love the help of other high profile authors who can help indies generate sales – so please contact us if you’d like to join in. You can email tamsinrosewell@btinternet.com or contact your publisher and ask for bookplates! Authors have used postcards and bookmarks too, so if you have anything like that to hand that can be signed, we’d love to use it! Publishers, if you’d also like to offer your support, please also email Tamsin.

And it’s as simple as that, if you’re a bookshop that would like to be involved please let me know and I’ll add you to the list, if you’re an author who would like to get involved please let Tamsin know.

Best of luck next week for everyone involved!


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Lockdown Children’s Festival

Today was my turn to be interviewed by Catherine Miller for Lockdown Children’s LitFest.

Where I apologise for the lack of beard, lockdown just had it totally out of control and it needed tamed, it will be back to it’s full bushiness soon enough.

We chat about children’s books in general with a few recommends from me, a talk about book prizes, I give away my two most visited independent bookshops and lots more.

I do get a bit passionate here, but that’s how I feel about books.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.