We are just a few days away from one of my favourite times of the year, Independent Bookshop Week, which runs from 16-23rd June. Launched in 2006, this is a week to highlight the important part indies play in their communities, including the excellent – some would say heroic – service they provide.
To mark the start of this celebration I'm going on a bookshop crawl. And not just any bookshop crawl. This one is going to last three days and cover I dread to think how many miles as I travel from town to town to meet 11 indies in the Cotswolds, all supported by Books are my Bag.
My bookshopping adventures begin next Saturday, 16th June, when I'll be heading over to Gloucestershire to visit four bookshops, then on Sunday I crisscross the border with Oxfordshire for three more, before completing my travels on Monday, with more border-hopping to include Worcestershire. If you'd like to see the full route take a look at the list at the bottom of this post or admire my superhero character in this lovely graphic:
Books are my Bag has drawn me as a superhero because the theme of this year's IBW is bookshop heroes. They're asking book lovers to shout about their favourite bookshops and bookselling heroes, while the bookshops themselves are also asked to share their own bookshop heroes, all using the hashtag #BookshopHeroes. I'm really looking forward to following these tweets to find out about bookshops I should be adding to my must-visit list – perhaps for my next bookshop crawl.
Join inAs I said, it's not physically possible for you to join me in my car (although it would be fun), so I'm instead inviting you to follow my adventures as they happen on Twitter; come back here and read about them afterwards; or – and these options aren't mutually-exclusive – set off on your own bookshop crawl and have your own adventure. Just make sure you remember to join in using the hashtags #IBW2018 and #BookshopCrawl.
The 'official' bookshop crawl day is 16th June, but mine will be taking place over three days and many bookshops will be holding special events and promotions throughout the week, so there's no limit to the possibilities of taking part.
In the past I've celebrated bookshop week by walking across London, driving around Essex, walking around London and driving around the south, so don't feel restricted if you only live in a one-bookshop town. Part of the fun of bookshop crawls is about getting out and 'meeting' places you perhaps wouldn't usually encounter. These are new beginnings that might just become a more regular part of your life.
hundreds of bookshops I've met through this blog, I have gained friends and favourite places in some unusual corners of the country.
While I don't pretend to say five minutes in an independent bookshop will change your life (it might), I do believe becoming a bookshopper, meeting booksellers and buying books in the real world has made my own life richer.
So join in the fun and see where a bookshopping adventure takes you. It could be the start of a new way of life, but even if it isn't, you'll still have a new book!
Erica's bookshop crawl
SaturdayYellow-Lighted Bookshop, Tetbury
Cotswold Book Room, Wooton-under-Edge
Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, Nailsworth
Octavia’s Bookshop, Cirencester
SundayMadhatter’s Bookshop, Burford
Jaffe and Neale, Stow-on-the-Wold
Woodstock Bookshop, Woodstock
MondayJaffe and Neale, Chipping Norton
Borzoi Bookshop, Stow-on-the-Wold
Blandford Books, Broadway
Courtyard Books, Bishops Cleve
The Suffolk Anthology, Cheltenham