Last week, Legend Press launched their ‘Think Independent’ campaign, a move highlighting the independent publisher’s support for independent bookshops.
Speaking to The Bookseller, Tom Chalmers, MD of Legend Press said: “As an independent and innovative publisher we are keen to work closely with independent bookshops. The two should be a natural fit, but often find themselves fighting the same battles separately. The aim of Think Independent is to ensure both publishers and bookshops remain independent but have greater strength through partnership.”
Talking to Oh, for the Love of Bookshops today, Nic Bottomley, the ‘Mr B’ of award-winning Mr B’s Reading Emporium, in Bath, agreed that maintaining a dialogue with publishers, booksellers and authors was a key factor in offering customers something different when looking to enhance the experience of book buying in a bookshop.
Nic said: “I think it’s very important to communicate with publishers, booksellers and authors all the time. It always leads to fun stuff and generally it’s really rewarding, financially as well eventually.”
Championing The Howling Miller, by Finnish author Arto Paasilinna, Mr B’s commissioned a limited hardback edition of the title – all 300 copies have been sold.
Speaking about The Howling Miller, Nic said: “We designed our own cover for this book and this was a collaboration with Canongate. I think it needed to be Canongate because they are the most inventive and creative publisher, so they were the perfect people to do the first one with. Then we did the same thing with Orion for that great British thriller ‘Rogue Male’.”
Customers of Mr B’s loved the idea of owning an edition of a great title that was only available through their bookshop. Visitors to the renowned bookshop also benefit from another imaginative collaborative enterprise. One shelf of the Mr B’s is always dedicated to titles suggested by another bookshop. Invited booksellers from all over the world submit a list of books that they love, or that are selling well in their own stores.
“We used Blackwells in Oxford briefly last summer and one of the books they suggested was a book about mindfulness,” said Nic.
“That happened to be an area where we had poor knowledge and therefore a very small range – suddenly we sold 60 copies of this mindfulness book, just by having it around and on display. We’re learning all the time, and we realised that there was an untapped desire for books like that amongst our customers.”
Building relationships with publishers, other bookshops and authors can lead to exciting developments that result in building better relationships with your customers. Collaborations are a smart move for bookshops.