International Update: Heatwave Bakes U.K. Book Trade; RISE Booksellers Attend French Conference

A selection of cool reads at Grove Bookshop, Ilkley, U.K.

Publishers are encouraging staff to "make their own judgement calls" about where to work during the heatwave, as events are canceled and bookshop customer traffic has been affected by the record heatwave in parts of the U.K., the Bookseller reported. 

"With our flexible working and flexible hours policies, our people have the choice of how and where they want to work over the heatwave," a spokesperson from Bonnier Books UK said. "We'll continue to support them to work in the way that suits them best over this period." 

A Simon & Schuster spokesperson noted: "With the U.K. set to declare its first ever Level 4 national emergency over the next few days, S&S U.K. staff are encouraged to make their own judgement calls about coming into the office."

Waterstones said it is trading "normally but has seen a drop in footfall, and staff have been advised to take "sensible precautions" and stay well hydrated in the hot weather. 

At Afrori Books in Brighton, owner Carolynn Bain reported consistent business, with trade picking up after 3 p.m. "when people are on their way back from the beach [and] the weather is a little bit cooler.... We have a large water cooler near the door and that has enticed people in and the shop is quite airy so it definitely feels cooler than outside, even without any air con." 

Gay's the Word bookshop in London was busy over the weekend. "Loads of people were in town," said manager Jim MacSweeney. "I gave one of my co-workers a day off today so they didn't have to endure the heat of the Tube and I cycled in. Where are the people coming from? They want books. The proper heat is only now kicking in so it may level off. We're all in shorts and it's not air-conditioned."


As part of the RISE Bookselling initiative, three booksellers from different parts of the world recently accompanied the European & International Booksellers Federation team to Angers in western France for Les Rencontres Nationales (RNL) de la Librairie, a biennial conference dedicated to bookselling and booksellers, organized by the Syndicat de la Librairie Française.

EIBF director Julie Belgrado and EIBF policy assistant Tora Åsling were joined by booksellers Marianne Reiner of La Playa Books in San Diego, Calif.; Olaf Tigchelaar of Kramer & van Doorn in Zeist, the Netherlands; and Oana Dobosi of La Două Bufniţe in Timisoara, Romania.

During a panel on the future of consumption, Reiner--originally from France but now working as a bookseller in the U.S.--shared insights about the daily life of American booksellers and implored her French colleagues to act quickly against the threat that Amazon poses to their market.

Tigchelaar was on a panel featuring booksellers from Quebec, Germany and the Netherlands. They examined three different kinds of distribution systems, with Tigchelaar explaining how the centralized Dutch system allows for 24-hour deliveries.

At the closing panel, "Bookshop, 'I love you, me neither...', Dobosi explained how the love of bookselling led her to become creative during the pandemic with ideas like inventing a new business model and selling "books to go" through her shop window, hosting story times for the young audience via Zoom, and starting a website to keep her business going and connecting with customers.


In India, Gulshan Books Kashmir posted on Facebook: "Srinagar International Airport gets its first bookstore. For book lovers, nothing is better than  having a new bookstore to explore. Gulshan Books Kashmir begins a new chapter with the launch of their new bookstore at Srinagar International Airport, offering something for everyone." --Robert Gray

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