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.

Questions for Bookshops

UK/IRL Indie Book Map

UK/IRL Indie Book Map

As part of the development of the individual posts for each bookshop on the list I will be sending out the questions that I asked on the ‘Browse A Bookshop’ feature to all bookshops on the list.

I’m going to rehash the pages of the bookshops who’ve already responded to fit into the new format and get a good start on the new phase of the blog.

I’ll also be prioritising developing posts for bookshops who send some answers back as this really makes my job easier.

So if you want to go to the top of the pile please email (contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com) me at least six answers to these following questions:

Question selection

  • How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
  • Who are you? Owns the bookshop? Bit of a bio and pics, please 🙂
  • Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?
  • General background/history of the shop please
  • Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?
  • Do you mainly sell new or second-hand books?
  • What makes your bookshop special?
  • What’s the hardest thing about being a bookseller?
  • What’s the best thing about being a bookseller?
  • What’s the most surprising thing about being a bookseller?
  • What are the goals for your bookshop?
  • Do you think owning a bookshop has changed your life? How?
  • What book do you wish would sell better?
  • What little-known book do you think is underrated?
  • What well-known book do you think is overrated?
  • What is your preferred reading genre?
  • Describe your store in three words.
  • What book is your greatest treasure? Why?
  • What was your favourite childhood book? Why?
  • If you could invite any author for a book signing at your shop, who would you choose?
  • Where do you think the biggest change in book publishing will come from?
  • How do you reach potential readers/customers?
  • How do you choose the books you stock?
  • Do you have a favourite publisher? Why?
  • Name three books on your TBR.
  • What are you reading at the moment?
  • What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from selling books?
  • What music, if any, do you play in your shop? Why?
  • What is the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?
  • What is the weirdest thing a customer has ever asked for?
  • What do you get up to in a normal bookselling day?
  • What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?

and could you send stores details; social media links, website, address, and lots of photos!


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.

An Introduction

Forum Books

Forum Books

I’m aiming to build a resource highlighting the brilliant work that Independent Bookshops do, the hard graft that goes into these shops, the love and dedication.

Each Independent Bookshop is different and they shine a light on lots of different styles of writing and books, from lovely cosy children’s bookshops to radical bookshops that challenge the status quo and get targeted by the far right for their efforts.

I will also be looking at Independent Publishers and the work they do to keep new and challenging writing flowing on a separate blog, Indie Publishers, concentrating on indie publishers in the UK and Ireland

One of the things I really want to do is visit as many of these shops and publishers as possible and get their thoughts on the current state of books and writing and why they sell and/or produce books.

So keep an eye out for me on my travels.


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.