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Booksellers Association Relaunches Shopfloor Publishers Scheme

By Megan Whitlock


After the success of previous versions of the project, the Booksellers Association (BA) plans to relaunch its Shopfloor Publishers scheme.


The scheme, launched in 2017, partners publishers with booksellers to provide publishing professionals with experience working on the bookshop floor. The initiative aims to foster deeper collaboration between publishers and booksellers, allowing publishers to learn about the challenges of bookselling, experience consumer behaviours first-hand and all workers to develop a greater understanding of each side of the business. In its previous iterations, the scheme saw participants such as Penguin Random House UK CEO Tom Seldon and then-CEO of Pan Macmillan UK, Anthony Forbes Watson, get stuck in and work on bookshop floors.


The Booksellers Association, a membership organisation that supports booksellers and represents over 95% of bookshops in the UK and Ireland, is now calling on its members to sign up and host publishing professionals in their store, hoping to see similar successes to its previous schemes. On the other side of the business, publishers can discover more about the initiative by emailing maggie.kay@booksellers.org.uk.


Other Booksellers Association initiatives have included the BA Mentoring scheme, which paired booksellers with an experienced mentor to discuss their queries, concerns and business plans (in partnership with the Unwin Charitable Trust) and Bookshop Day, a celebration of bookshops that encourage consumers to shop independently and locally (taking place on 13 October 2023).


In The Bookseller’s report on the Shopfloor Publishers plan, BA President and Village Books owner Hazel Broadfoot shared this statement: “Following the pandemic, and the changes wrought on the industry by it, and by the current cost of living crisis, it feels like the time is right to relaunch this collaboration project and bring booksellers and publishers together. [...] For publishers, working in a bookshop for a day can be an eye-opening experience: it is a chance to appreciate what booksellers do while witnessing consumer behaviour up close. We’ve been delighted that a number of bookshops have been reciprocally invited into publishing houses, and we hope to see that happen again this time round; booksellers will be equally enlightened by seeing the inside workings of publishing.”



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