It’s been a long four months but finally the shutters are lifting on the UK’s bookshops. In England and Wales, non-essential shops can open from 12 April, and we know all too well how much a good browse has been missing from locked-down life.
Here we share some of the bookshops, authors and customers celebrating today. And if you are heading out to a bookshop, make sure to tag us on Twitter @PenguinUKBooks.
Bookshops are full of surprises and if you visit your local today you may spot author and illustrator Dapo Adeola doing more than just browsing the shelves...
As we emerge from lockdown it might be time to ditch the loungewear and take inspiration from author Nell Frizzell.
Author Ericka Waller has an extra incentive for anyone intending to buy her new book Dog Days.
If you are near Richmond, London then pop down to Alligator's Mouth to watch artist Steven Lenton prepare their shop window.
Many authors are expressing their excitment on Twitter today, from Booker winner Bernardine Evaristo sharing her favourite bookshops to a plea from Philip Pullman to buy and read as many books as you can - not that we need much convincing.
Today is also a moment for authors to see their recently published books in a physical shop, like Claire Fuller, author of the Women's Prize Longlisted Unsettled Ground, and Kate Mosse, whose new book The City of Tears was also published during lockdown.
Retail and brand expert Mary Portas visited The Yellow Lighted Bookshop in Nailsworth and posted about the importance of bookshops in our communities.
As customers are flitting between the shelves, we are excited to see which titles are being added to their reading piles.
Although non-essential retail in Scotland and Northern Ireland are still waiting for restrictions to be lifted, there are other ways to shop at your local bookshop.
For obvious reasons it has been a challenging year for bookshops, but it's also been 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 to welcome local booksellers back to the high street and give them our support. 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 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.