This month sees the celebration of Independent Bookshop Week (16 – 23 June) – a much needed celebration of Indie booksellers – and so we thought we would join in the fun. Independent bookshops, mainly those housed in the art galleries and institutions around the UK are our bread-and-butter buyers, but it is getting harder for them to make ends meet, as they compete with the big chains and internet giants. However, if they know their customers well, and pick the right range of titles, they are a wonderful addition to the local community. A place to meet and browse and host events.
Last month Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham won Independent Bookseller of the Year at the Nibbies, which was great to see. Did you know that here at HOME in Manchester we have our very own little bookshop? It has a good selection of arty magazines and books. Lots of the titles on sale relate to events we are hosting at HOME, and there are many! With 1 huge art gallery, 2 theatres, 5 cinemas, a cafe, bars, a restaurant and several event spaces there is always lots going on. Take a look at the HOME website, and you might find something you want to be involved with. Even better just come and visit us here in Manchester. #WeArePartofHOME
Love books like we do? Other local independent bookshops in the Manchester area include:
Magma Manchester (Northern Quarter, Manchester City Centre) To get the gist of what they’re about have a read of this, taken from their statement: ‘What is a shop? It is what those behind the counter share with their customers, it is that common experience, a series of more or less successful attempts at communicating ideas, needs, interests, passions, obsessions, dreams.’
Manchester Art Gallery (Manchester City Centre) say, ‘We love books and know that you do too, our impressive bookcases house beautiful books and gifts inspired by our collections and exhibitions.’
Mortens (Didsbury) ‘John Morten Booksellers, trading as E. J. Morten Booksellers, has been run from a quintessential cobbled street in Didsbury Village, South Manchester, since 1959 with three successive generations taking over the business. The business incorporates both a new retail book shop and a historical second-hand & antiquarian book arm.’ This one is dear to our heart as it was one of the first bookshops that a member of our team visited as a child. The hook got stuck.
Chorlton Bookshop (Chorlton) ‘A family owned bookshop since 1983’ – short and sweet and says it how it is.
Chapter One (Nothern Quarter, Manchester City Centre) ‘Chapter One is an independent coffee shop and bookstore, which began out of a family’s love for great books, amazing cake, and good coffee. It is all about friends, books and coffee. Meet your friends in our café, or make new ones with all our chatty regulars!’
Paramount Books (Shude Hill, Manchester City Centre) ‘SMASHING VINTAGE MAGAZINES AND OLD BOOKS! Any kind, any flavour, any smell… gathered by thousands in our shop, here is a small selection on our website.’
Or, if you want to explore further afield take a look at this link on top Independent Bookshops from around the UK – the 39 best independent bookshops in the UK.
What about specialist art booksellers here in the UK? Here are some of our favourites:
Barton Books (Penzance) ‘Barton Books is an independent bookshop to be found at the top of Causewayhead in Penzance, Cornwall. One could be forgiven in thinking that we specialise in art books but we like to think that we offer a lot more.’
BALTIC Bookshop (Gateshead) ‘We hope you can visit our amazing shop and gallery but if you aren’t close by we’re here to bring a slice of BALTIC Shop right to you, right here online. What’s more all shop sales support BALTIC’s charitable aims of bringing great art to everyone. Win, win :)’
Salts Mill (Saltaire) ‘Salts Mill is a gigantic Victorian Grade II* listed former textile factory, now filled with art, books, flowers, food, and 21st century industry…..We sell beautiful books and exclusively produced David Hockey posters, some of which we’re proud to offer you on this site. In the real world you can visit the Mill, experience our UNESCO World Heritage Site setting.’
Aye-Aye Books (Glasgow) ‘Aye-Aye Books has all you need to keep up to date with current developments in art, and much more. Books from independent publishers around the world sit alongside an unrivaled selection of publications by and about today’s Scottish artists, limited edition artists’ books, cultural and critical theory, fiction and poetry, magazines and journals, radical books, sound art, music, and world cinema DVDs.’
Then it gets us thinking, if we had our very own Cornerhouse Publications independent bookshop, which titles would we be sure to stock? It would be very hard to pick just a few, but why don’t you have a browse of our website and pick your favourites too?
And if you ever dream of owning your own little Indie Bookshop why not have a trial run and rent out ‘The Open Book’ in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town. With it’s very own apartment above, you can stay here for a week or two and run your own bookshop – all with help from a team of friendly volunteers.
Finally, have you seen that there’s a new film – The Bookshop – coming out at the end of this month? Why not combine a visit to our very own HOME cinema with a browse of our HOME bookshop? Or you may find other HOME events here that make you want to visit us too?
Now there’s a thought…..