A photograph of a woman wearing a mask and browsing in a bookshop

Bookshops are back! Image: Getty/Penguin

It’s been a long four months but finally the shutters are lifting on the UK’s bookshops. In England, non-essential shops can open from 12 April, and we know all too well how much a good browse has been missing from our locked-down lives.

For obvious reasons it has been a challenging year for bookshops, but also one of innovation: many responded to being shut down by developing websites, social media communities and online events programme to keep their customers in the loop.

With shops tentatively re-opening, though, it’s time welcome local booksellers back to the high street. Here’s how:

Follow #ChooseBookshops and #BookshopsAreBack

Join in with the excitement across the country by following the #ChooseBookshops hashtag. Authors, sellers and customers alike will be sharing their enthusiasm for local shops, and on April 12 some of our authors will be returning to their local shops to sign copies and show their support. Check out #BookshopsAreBack to see what your favourite writers are up to.

Find your local bookshop

Want to get involved but don’t want to travel too far? Find out where your nearest independent bookshop is on The Booksellers Association’s website. Simply put in your postcode and the nearest options will come up.

Follow them on social media

If you’re unsure as to when or how your local bookshop is opening, check out their social media channels. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are great ways to see what new stock they’ve got in and what events are coming up. Subscribing to newsletters gives your local bookshop a direct way to keep you posted and part of their community.

Check when you can go

While the government announced that shops can extend their opening hours from 7am to 10pm to allow for social distancing, it will help shops to prepare for customers and understand what staffing measures are needed if you let them know when you want to shop. Some, such as Moon Lane bookshop in South London, are offering customers the opportunity to book a slot before they visit. That way, you can avoid queues and have a more room to browse.

Order something new

Plenty of things have gone on hold over the past year, but for authors launching books 2020 and 2021 have been uniquely challenging. No bookshops open has meant quiet launches for authors; it’s also meant that booksellers have less understanding of the new books that people want to read. So, if you’re looking forward to reading a book released in 2020 or 2021, let them know! Pre-ordering titles that haven’t emerged yet helps authors and booksellers, and if you can’t see a title that you’d like to buy, they can order it in for you.

Debut novels that should be on your radar in 2021

Read more

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