I will be hosting an event this afternoon that is all about celebrating your bookshop. In gearing up for the event I was doing some research and I was shocked to discover that whilst we have a World Book Day, World Book Night, National Library Day (though my local library seemed to have no idea there was one) and the UK has Independent Booksellers Week. I am not dissing any of the other ventures, I love them all, but we don’t have a World Bookshop Day itself that everyone everywhere can join in with? Maybe that is a bit simple and simplistic minded of me? It just seems a little bit strange and I am left pondering why on earth not? Books and bookshops obviously need each other, only it always seems to be the book that gets the biggest support… what about the shop?
Now if anyone suddenly announces there is one worldwide I will hold my hands up and apologise, because I googled and googled and googled to try and find one. To be fair Australia, a country that I think is imminently sensible in so many ways (not forgetting that it brought Kylie, Kath & Kim and Marieke Hardy), did throw a National Bookshop Day in August 2013 yet, so far at least, there doesn’t seem to be anything happening this year. As I mentioned there is, lucky us, an Independent Booksellers Week in the UK yet not everywhere else and I think it would be nice to unite it worldwide too, rather than just our own turf, and not just the indies though I know they are bloody important… all bookshops are under threat though aren’t they?
I love a good bookshop – I think this is quite obvious – be they a lovely independent, a dusty/musty second hand shop or even a high street store (and I think some of these need to be celebrated and supported too, I am in constant fear that any moment Waterstones will suddenly announce its being bought by Amazon and then the world might end) I find it very hard not to fall into them. I don’t always purchase masses of books but I try and buy at least one new and a couple of second hand books from bookshops every month. I love the atmosphere, which is always relaxed (though I heard that story about the madwoman who wanted people to pay to peruse in her bookshop) and you can wander and browse and just get lost in a world of book… just down your very road, well, almost if you are lucky.
You can guess what is coming can’t you? Yes, I think that we should start our own World Book Day and currently I have given it the oh-so original title ‘Celebrate The Bookshop’…
I mean what will it cost (the constant fear of anything that sounds like an initiative or cause) really? One of the things that is so fantastic about book lovers is that they can’t shut up about books, hence the wonder of books successes just based on the word of mouth phenomena. All we need to do really is pick a day, later in the year (and I am wondering if I should get in touch with the team behind Australia’s National Bookshop Day last year and Independent Booksellers Week and see if we could all do it on the same day, this could be delusions of grandeur), and mention it to all our friends, print off posters and the like, I wish you could print off book marks, blog about it here there and everywhere and then on the day go to out to our local bookshop/s and buy a few books. Simple as that surely? It will be like a bookish revolution all through the simple magic of sharing the love and, as I said, spreading the word and supporting local bookshops everywhere.
I have even been pondering a blog where people, everywhere, can write about their favourite local bookshops and make some sort of world wide book shop guide. You’d think I hadn’t just got a new job and had lots of other projects on the go would you. But hey I love books and they make me think and want to see about doing things like this.
So what do you think? Do you think it is sad that we don’t have a day that officially spreads the love of the physical bookshop (any variety) worldwide? Do you think we should have one? Who is in with me to try and make one happen and if so what could we do next? I think we need some patrons and I can think of three who I might ask, any you would suggest though? I am off to do more brainstorming, emailing, and hosting the event on it… I wonder what the audience there will make of the idea? If you have any additional thoughts or ideas you can email firstname.lastname@example.org too. I will report back with everyone’s thoughts and updates very soon.