UK Booksellers Association urges publishers to support bookshops commercially and emotionally
In her end of year letter Meryl Halls, MD of the UK Booksellers Association, has urged publishers to be “commercially supportive of bookshops” and to recognise both the “contribution bookshops make to the success of authors and titles” and “how fragile the ecosystem of which our members are a key element can be”.
She writes: “To maintain that ecosystem, and ensure that high street bookselling survives a potentially exceptionally brutal year, we are calling on publishers and other suppliers to be commercially supportive, and to invest, practically and emotionally, in the bookselling sector.”
She believes small moves by publishers – perhaps a few percent extra discount here, an exclusive edition there – can make “a disproportionately positive impact on the sector, [and we urge publishers to] continue to think creatively with your teams about ways in which you can invest in, and support, the bookselling community.”
The UK is undergoing a perfect storm of industrial unrest at the moment, which has seen train strikes keep people away from city centres, and a cost-of-living increase that has seen energy bills soar for everyone. Nonetheless, Halls concluded on a positive note for bookshops up and down the UK. “Faced with adversity, they’ve adapted; faced with economic uncertainty, they’ve battened down the hatches and sold more books; faced with high street unease, they’ve engaged, collaborated and connected with networks and peers locally; faced with regulatory threats, they gave voice to their experience and expertise; faced with the opportunity to create moments of reader delight through BA campaigns, they embrace them and share the joy of bookshops with their customers.”
She added: “Your support as publishers is a key part of making all of these things happen, and to creating a bookselling community that is confident and speaking from a position of strength from within this industry
“Booksellers are inspirational people, and it’s a privilege to work for and with them through the year; we’re proud to have served alongside them for another rollercoaster year, and we look forward to working with you, our most supportive publishing partners, to continue the expansion of bookselling and the number of books sold through bookshops during 2023 and into the future.”