Favourite indie bookshop in London? Hard to choose, innit? Treadwell’s on Store Street for all your esoteric faves. Student life-saver Judd Books. The literary Aladdin’s cave that is Skoob? That reeeeally odd place on Holloway Road that sells vintage erotica (NSFW).
Anyway, we were jazzed a few months ago when a new online retailer popped up, promising to help indie shops in Britain. Bookshop.org is a great site, selling Londoners books while also supporting the plucky businesses that are massively struggling due to the pandemic.
This was no fly-by-night, here-today, weak-tea initiative, however. Bookshop.org proved extremely popular. Which is why, four short months later, it’s generated more than a million quid in profits for London’s indie bookshops. Sorry, Bezos, looks like you’ll be shopping at the discounted and expired foods aisle this month! The 410 bookshops currently on the platform claim that it’s been a ‘financial lifeline’, with the revenue generated helping them to avoid furloughing staff and helping pay for day-to-day living expenses.
‘From the very outset it felt like the team at Bookshop.org had our backs,’ says Uli Lenart at Gay’s The Word in Russell Square. ‘Amongst the frenzy of Christmas bookselling, it felt like we had an invisible elf helping out in the bookshop, a positive force that lightened the load and supported us through what’s been a testing time for everyone… We really love how, even if they are not particularly looking for an LGBT+ book, supporters of Gay’s the Word are able to buy anything through our page and we still get the cut.’
Brilliant black-owned bookshops in the capital.
Our big list of the best bookshops in London.