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.



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



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