Independent Bookshop Numbers Grow in 2019

Number of independent bookshops increase for third year

Booksellers Association urges that more still needs to be done for retail overall

Following more than 20 years of decline, the number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland has grown for the third consecutive year, the Booksellers Association (BA) has announced today.

The Booksellers Association (which represents independent, chain and non-traditional booksellers across the UK and Ireland) released the figures as part of its annual membership survey, which revealed that the number of independent bookshops in BA membership at the end of 2019 grew to 890 shops, up from 883 in 2018 and up from 868 in 2017.

New independent bookshops which opened in 2019 include:

  • All Good Bookshop, London
  • Banner Books, County Clare
  • Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, Norwich
  • Books On The Hill, St Albans
  • Dogberry and Finch Books, Devon
  • Goldstone Books, Carmarthenshire
  • Halfway Up The Stairs, County Wicklow
  • Maldon Books, Essex
  • Our Bookshop, Hertfordshire
  • Pages Cheshire Street, London
  • Pigeon Books, Hampshire
  • Read., West Yorkshire
  • Round Table Books, London
  • The Little Book Emporium, East Yorkshire
  • The Portobello Bookshop, Edinburgh
  • Topping and Company Booksellers of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

The BA also reports that its Christmas Trading Survey of independent booksellers shows that two thirds of indies reported increased sales on Christmas 2018, despite perceived town-wide footfall being down.

Meryl Halls, Managing Director at the Booksellers Association, said: “It is very heartening to see the number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland grow for a third year. This is testament to the creativity, passion and hard work of our booksellers, who continue to excel in the face of challenging circumstances, particularly those wider high street challenges which so often see bookshops outperforming their high street peers”

“It’s enhanced by the news of Waterstones store openings during 2019 and bolsters the bookselling community across the board.

“We do however need to frame this positive growth in a wider context. Across the UK and Ireland, retailers still face issues around online competition and unequal business rates, all against a backdrop of uncertainty around Brexit and the economy. No high street can survive solely on bookshops; all retailers need to be supported and championed in order for the retail landscape to thrive.

”While the increased bookshop numbers are certainly a cause for celebration, we remain dedicated to campaigning for the new Government to help protect the future of retail more widely. It is key that the difficulties facing all retailers are properly addressed and the high street supported, so that both retailers and booksellers can flourish.”


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