If you follow the blog you might have seen my vaguely weekly series wherein I feature an independent publisher every Saturday and talk a little about them and about some of their books that I'm excited to read. Originally this started in response to yet more Amazon ridiculousness, and it set me thinking. I already try to support independent bookshops where I can, but besides Persephone and a couple of others I didn't really know too much about independent publishers. The Make Mine an Indie series has definitely helped me out in that respect, and I plan to continue it sporadically throughout the year.
All of this is to say that I'm officially committing myself to at least 9 out of 10 books that I buy this year being from an independent publisher or an independent bookshop. To start myself off I bought myself a Christmas present of a subscription to And Other Stories, which means they'll send me two books later on in the year, which my subscription money will have helped to actually publish!
I'm also organising a bookshop crawl in London on February 6th, during which we'll visit mostly independent bookshops (as well as Waterstone's Piccadilly and Daunt and I'm never sure if Foyles still counts as an independent since there's more than one now?). If you're in the area or can get there please feel free to join us, just shout in the comments and I'll send you info!
I think it's really exciting to get to read things that are slightly different from the mainstream, and I love that smaller publishers often allow opportunity for the reader to feel (and be) more closely connected to the publishing process. This is particularly the case with And Other Stories and Cinnamon Press but I'm sure with other publishers too, and being a person who is passionate about books I love the idea of actually having an effect on brilliant books being published.
I love independent bookshops. The level of service and the ability to find something that's quirky and fantastic is unrivalled. Although I do like Waterstone's, I find that independent bookshops are some of my favourite places to really browse, and I'm really looking forward to doing more of that this year.
If you'd like to join me in this year of buying indie in any way I'd love to hear about it! I'm using #MakeMineanIndie for the blog series and anything related to this project, please feel free to join me!
Some useful resources:
My Make Mine an Indie blog series
The Guardian's Independent Bookshop Directory
The London Bookshop Map
The Independent Alliance