Portswood’s October Books have been saved from closure thanks to a campaign that has united their readers in support of the local independent bookstore.
With the increasing dominance of internet giant Amazon, the landscape has long looked bleak for independent booksellers. Here in Southampton, rising rental prices and a decline in student sales have had further impact, presenting October Books with the threat of having to close their 37-year-strong business. The bookshop needed to raise £6000 to renew its lease.
After launching the campaign, sales doubled in just a week as customers displayed their support; one customer even traveled 10 miles to make a purchase and others have agreed loans to save the store form closure.
The only independent bookshop in Southampton, October Books is a not-for-profit co-operative that relies upon the help of volunteers to keep running. It’s selection not only offers the latest releases and bestsellers but, by communicating with lecturers, include the books that students really need. As an ethically run business, they also offer reasonably priced Fair-Trade, organic, ethical wholefoods and household products making it an important staple on the Portswood highstreet.
We stock the humanities coursebooks- the lecturers give us the book lists- and we offer them at very competitive prices, often cheaper than Amazon.Laure Van den Broeck
They also welcome student volunteers, a fantastic opportunity to contribute to an ethically run business, help the community and learn about the bookselling market.
Recent campaigns such as ‘Books are my Bag’ and initiatives such as myindependentbookshop.com are encouraging the public to become more aware and active in the fight for local bookshop culture and economy. Those who find it easier to purchase online can still contribute to the cause as October Books work with Hive, an online distributor that gives them a percentage of the profits. The recent victory of October Books is a reassuring sign of what the community can achieve.
Please continue to show support for October Books by popping in and making a purchase, making a donation on their website http://www.octoberbooks.org/, or simply spreading the word.
You can follow their progress and what they are up to on Facebook here.