Author launches campaign to encourage support for bookshops this Christmas

Award-winning British author Holly Bourne has launched the #SignForOurBookshops campaign to encourage shoppers to support their local stores this Christmas.

At the start of England’s second lockdown, Holly decided she would provide bookshops with signed, personalised bookplates – designed by former children’s laureate Chris Riddell – to incentivise customers to buy her books from their local shop rather than online.

Now, more than 300 authors – including Dolly Alderton, Malorie Blackman, Matt Haig and Emma Gannon – have signed up to participate, and are offering their own signed bookplates to customers buying from brick-and-mortar bookshops.

The campaign aims to help keep bookshops afloat as England enters another lockdown, with bookshops deemed non-essential retail businesses and prohibited from opening until 2 December.

The lead-up to Christmas is usually the busiest time of year for bookshops, and although many will continue trading online, Holly fears that a large number of customers will instead turn to Amazon to buy their books.

Authors can choose whether to send out bookplates only to customers who have bought their books from smaller, independent bookshops, or to include larger chains, such as Waterstones – though Holly has said her initiative does not intend to exclude any type of bookshop.

The campaign was created just days after the UK launch of a new website, Bookshop.org. More than 150 independent bookshops have signed up to sell books through the site, offering customers an alternative to Amazon.

Speaking to The Bookseller, Holly said: ‘This isn’t anti-Amazon, it’s pro-bookshops really, pro-local. They are incredible pillars of our community. 

‘Authors need bookshops as much as bookshops need authors, it’s so important for discoverability, for browsing, booksellers organise events – and so many authors have existing amazing relationships with bookshops and individual booksellers.

‘They’re magical places and I want them all to be there after the lockdown.’

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