With Covid-19 restrictions again in place across the U.K., author Holly Bourne has launched #SignForOurBookshops. The social media campaign offers a national show of support from U.K. authors by urging the public to buy through high-street bookshops, and by offering exclusive signed bookplates, designed by former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, to stores and customers," the Bookseller reported. Participating writers include Malorie Blackman, Emma Gannon, Dolly Alderton, Matt Haig, Adam Kay, Michael Rosen and David Nicholls.
Bourne told the Bookseller she has been "blown away by how it's taken off," noting that she came up with the idea November 1 and pulled the campaign together in three days. "This isn't anti-Amazon, it's pro-bookshops really, pro-local. They are incredible pillars of our community. Authors need bookshops as much as bookshops need authors, it's so important for discoverability, for browsing, booksellers organize events--and so many authors have existing amazing relationships with bookshops and individual booksellers."
While chains like Waterstones and WH Smith are included in her #SignForOurBookshops pledge, Bourne has left that decision up to individual authors: "For me, what I'm pledging is to include all bookshops. My life has been just as changed by the incredible Storytellers, Inc in Lancashire, who gave me my first ever book event when I was an unknown debut [writer] but then I owe just as much to the WH Smith at Victoria train station. They're magical places and I want them all to be there after the lockdown."
The New Zealand Society of Authors, the Publishers Association of New Zealand, and Copyright Licensing New Zealand have launched Creative Rights = Creative Reads, a campaign that aims to help people understand the role of creative rights, how they underpin the success of the book sector and how they contribute to the country's social, economic and cultural wellbeing, Books + Publishing reported.
"Creative rights are the mechanism that ensures authors and publishers own and are able to earn from their work," the organizers said. "The campaign highlights that when we value those rights, the result is more creativity, more local stories, more inspirational ideas, and access to more local knowledge."
CLNZ CEO Paula Browning said, "We believe that helping New Zealanders to understand how creative rights work in the book sector, and the ways in which these rights contribute to Aotearoa, will help foster a meaningful conversation on copyright--and keep the pages turning!"
Hai An, Vietnam's largest bookstore, has opened in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Inside Retail reported that the five-story store "features contemporary design with an ocean-inspired concept including an art installation in an atrium," as well as "a large open space with an oculus, allowing natural light into the space. Giant walls are painted as an 'ocean floor,' suggesting visitors are entering an 'ocean of knowledge.' "
One of India's oldest bookshops, Higginbothams in Chennai dates back to the mid-19th century and "has seen so much over the course of its history, but for its current owners this is an unprecedented time for the store," Scroll.in reported. Director Gautam Venkataramani said, "The pandemic has crippled the retail industry. And when one is selling a book that costs approximately Rs300 (about $4), something that you can get on Amazon much cheaper, why will customers want to risk their life? That's the challenge we are faced with. We have to somehow work around this."
While the main bookstore in Chennai is fairly large, the company also has stores in malls, the airport, railway stations and restaurants. "The other segment we're in is schools and colleges, which have still not opened," Venkataramani added. "All our campus stores have been shut. So, literally, the business model of the company has been decimated." Higginbothams is currently focusing more intently on online sales.
With the Chennai flagship store in need of major restoration, Venkataramani observed: "We have to reinvent ourselves. The idea, as things open up, is to make it a destination. In Bangalore, our store looked exactly like the Mount Road one. The renovation has come out extremely well. This is what we had in mind for Chennai, and we were waiting for the Metro work to stop before we could do the heritage touch up, plus you know, getting permission from the Corporation, etc.... We did have plans for doing something for the 175th year of the store this year, but Covid-19 has put paid to all that." --Robert Gray