CAMPAIGN TO KEEP BOOKSHOPS OPEN!
We the undersigned are a group of booksellers, publishers, authors and others connected to the world of books.
We are writing to you to make the case for bookshops to be allowed to remain open during lockdown situations.
You have often spoken of your love of books, and the importance you place on reading for pleasure or as a source of comfort. Bookshops and booksellers exist to enable that process and provide readers with a safe space in which to find their next literary adventure. All booksellers are passionate, knowledgeable, and skilled in what they do: more so than any algorithm can ever be.
As we move through this crisis, we are of course aware that the health and safety of customers and staff is paramount. Bookshops, like the vast majority of retailers, have put every measure in place to ensure their spaces are COVID secure, in many cases going above and beyond what the regulations require. They have invested in PPE, screens, advanced cleaning measures and of course training to help stop the spread of this dreadful virus. To date there has been no evidence presented that retail is responsible for any increase in cases, so why are they being targeted, particularly during this crucial trading period?
Bookshops are important local employers. They pay their fair share of taxes, something online retailers have never been able to claim. And they have long been recognised as cultural and community hubs, somewhere people come to share stories and a love of reading.
They are also a vital part of the publishing ecosystem as they not only stock mainstream titles, but champion the work of smaller presses and newer authors, giving them a place in which to connect with their audience. Many work closely with schools, publishers, and organisations such as The Scottish Book Trust, organising events and book fairs (virtual for some time to come of course), facilitating the First Minister‘s Reading Challenge and helping to connect young readers directly with authors, which in turn helps close the attainment gap.
As we enter the long, dark winter months, we are asking for you to give bookshops special consideration and allow them to remain open, just as garden centres were in the summer. Books and reading provide comfort and joy, and this year of all years, we all deserve a bit of that. All we’re asking is that bookshops are given a fighting chance to get through this, so they can carry on enriching the Scottish literary environment. Otherwise, they may not all survive, and we would all be poorer for that.
Please, First Minister, support bookshops as they’ve supported readers, authors and publishers over the years – something we’d like to see them doing long into the future.
LIST OF SIGNATORIES
Chris McCosh, Atkinson-Pryce Bookshop, Biggar
David Prescott, CEO Blackwell's Books
Dinah McDonald, Bookpoint Dunoon
Marjory Marshall, The Bookmark, Granton-on-Spey
Marie Moser, The Edinburgh Bookshop, Edinburgh
Kirsty Smith, Edinburgh International Book Festival Bookshop
Sally Pattle, Far From The Madding Crowd Bookshop
Julie Richardson, Ginger & Pickles Bookshop, Edinburgh
Bill Anderson, Highflight Bookshop, Dingwall
Cathy & David Kinnear, Hyndland Bookshop Glasgow
Ros de la Hey, Mainstreet Trading Company, St Boswell's
Darren Welch, the Moffat Bookshop, Moffat
Mavis MacDonald, The Nairn Bookshop, Nairn
Anna, SCOTIA Books
Michele Oldham, Timberbooks, West Kilbride
Marion Murdoch, The Watermill, Aberfeldy
James Daunt MD, Waterstones
Tim Archbold, author and illustrator
Gill Arbuthnott, author
Stuart Cosgrove, author and broadcaster
Jim Crumley, author
Justin Davies, author
Lesley Glaister, author
Pippa Goodhart, author
M Louise Kelly, author
Esther Kent, author and illustrator
Elizabeth Laird, author
Sue Lawrence, author
Kate Leiper, illustrator and artist
Ian Macartney, author and poet
Kevin MacNeil, author
Graeme Macrae Burnett, author
LJ MacWhirter, author
Alexander McCall Smith, author
Denzil Meyrick, author
Judy Paterson, author and storyteller
Vikki Reilly, author
Lynne Rickards, author
James Robertson, author, member of advisory group to the First Minister’s Reading Challenge
Robin Scott-Elliott, author
Hugh Andrew, MD Birlinn Books and owner, Yeadons Bookshop, Elgin and Banchory
Meryl Halls, MD Bookseller’s Association
Suzanne Kennedy, Publisher Floris Books
Lindsay Fraser, Fraser Ross Associates
Kathryn Ross, Fraser Ross Associates
Ruth Gardner, Gardners Books Ltd
Judy Moir, Judy Moir Literary Agency
Robbie Guillory, Kate Nash Literary Agency
Alan Windram, publisher Little Door Books and author
Gillian Mackay, Pan MacMillan
Jan Rutherford, Publicity and the Printed Word
Sara Hunt, Saraband Books