“Developing Collaterals: Book Retail Networks in the Creation of Social Prosperity”

This was the second themed Bookselling Research Network event. This round table discussed the financial business dimension of a bookstore in tandem with its social dimension as the site for networked communities.

The table comprised of three 15-minute presentations and was followed with a lively question and answer session.

Our panellists:

Dr Simon Frost. Bournemouth University. https://staffprofiles.bournemouth.ac.uk/display/sfrost See Reading, Wanting and Broken EconomicsA Twenty-First-Century Study of Readers and Bookshops in Southampton Around 1900.  N.Y.:  SUNY Press, 2021.

Dr Frost talked about the complexity of book retail, drawing on his research from the 1900s to contemporary times. He argued that in the 1900s books became a commodity culture and this continues today. There may be radical differences in operational mode between 1900 and now but the situation remains the same: the promise of a gain means we accept books are retailed to us.

Prof. Corinna Norrick-Rühl. University of Münster: https://www.uni-muenster.de/Anglistik/bookstudies/team/prof.dr.norrick-ruehl.html See The Novel as Network: Forms, Ideas, Commodities. Cham: Palgrave, 2020 (co-edited with Tim Lanzendörfer); see also Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Cham: Palgrave, forthcoming (co-edited with Shafquat Towheed).

Professor Norrick-Rühl talked about the bookstore as node, and is crossroads between all relationships in books. Bookstores fulfil a variety of functions and this is how they continue to exist as they are emmeshed in cultural networks, entrepreneurial networks, and educational networks. Therefore, framing bookstores as nodes in overlapping networks is useful to this understanding.

Dr Ryan Raffaelli. Harvard Business School: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=257292 See Reinventing Retail: The Novel Resurgence of Independent Bookstores, HBS working papers series, 2020.

Dr Raffaelli again underscored how bookstores are different to other stores and different to usual economics. Bookstores defied the predicted decline of the 1990s and there was a rise in independent bookstores in the 2010s. The discussion focussed on three factors which make bookshops ‘different’: community, curation and convening.

To view the panel talks and the discussions, please click here

“Developing Collaterals: Book Retail Networks in the Creation of Social Prosperity”

Wednesday 25th May 2:00 – 3:30 pm BST

The Bookselling Research Network is pleased to announce its next event. This round table will discuss the financial business dimension of a bookstore in tandem with its social dimension as the site for networked communities. While the bookstore’s assets may generate revenue, they have other outputs from other ‘collaterals’, such as their communities of readers and end users, with the possibility that both might contribute to a much wider shared prosperity. In short, the panel participants will ask from their varied standpoints, whether there are good reasons to think of the otherwise separate domains of cultural politics and economics together as a networked political economy? 

The table comprises 3 x 10-15 minute presentations, with general discussion and questions to follow.

Our panellists are

Dr Simon Frost. Bournemouth University. https://staffprofiles.bournemouth.ac.uk/display/sfrost See Reading, Wanting and Broken EconomicsA Twenty-First-Century Study of Readers and Bookshops in Southampton Around 1900.  N.Y.:  SUNY Press, 2021.

Prof. Corinna Norrick-Rühl. University of Münster: https://www.uni-muenster.de/Anglistik/bookstudies/team/prof.dr.norrick-ruehl.html See The Novel as Network: Forms, Ideas, Commodities. Cham: Palgrave, 2020 (co-edited with Tim Lanzendörfer); see also Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Cham: Palgrave, forthcoming (co-edited with Shafquat Towheed).

Dr Ryan Raffaelli. Harvard Business School: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=257292 See Reinventing Retail: The Novel Resurgence of Independent Bookstores, HBS working papers series, 2020.

After the panel talks, the second part of the event will be an open discussion on these themes and an opportunity to identify areas for further research and collaboration.

This event will take place on Zoom and there is no charge for attendance. Please register here: https://forms.office.com/r/KX1R52Kthj

BRN event: History of Bookselling – 18th March 2022

In this first themed event, the BRN explored the history of bookselling, beginning with two fifteen minute presentations. The first was from Dr Will Smith who is a practising bookseller at Sam Read Booksellers in the Lake District, followed by Professor Simon Eliot who is a book historian at the Institute for English Studies. Short extracts of these presentations are below.

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BA Report on booksellers as placemakers published

A new study, Booksellers As Placemakers, commissioned by the Booksellers Association, shows that over 90% of booksellers work actively to support local priorities, such as place marketing, walkability, provision of recreational and cultural spaces, and maintaining economic attractive town and city centres.

The new report, Booksellers As Placemakers, was authored by the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University and analysed feedback from 205 bookshops based across the UK.

Key findings from the research showed that 92% of bookshops contributed to the local non-retail offer such as events and festivals, 99% to the economic attractiveness of their town centres, 98% to ‘place-marketing’ of their towns, and 96% to the ‘liveability’ of their towns, while 77% were proactively involved in networks and partnerships with local councils, and 70% helped to remove barriers to entry for new businesses in the area.

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First Annual Bookselling Research Network Meeting – 21st January 2022

In January, we were delighted to host the first annual meeting of the Bookselling Research Network (BRN), bringing together those from industry, associations and academia that share a common interest in the history, practice, and culture of bookselling. Despite the challenges of the last two years, the BRN has been quietly building momentum, and it was wonderful to bring together interested parties from across the globe -– including Colombia, the USA, Europe and Japan -– to discuss the aims of the BRN.

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Notes from BRN Annual Meeting 2022

Participants: Samantha Rayner (SR); Eben Muse (EM); Meryl Halls (MH); Noel Murphy (NM); Rachel Calder (RC); Matthew Chambers (MC); Simon Eliot (SE); Audrey Laing (AE); Andrew Kamei-Dyche (AKD); Eleanor Shevlin (ES); Joe Cain (JC); Louise O’Hare (LOH); Simon Frost (SF); Will Smith (WS); Anna Muenchrath (AM); Christine D’Arpa (CDA); Corinna Norrick-Ruehl (CNR); Juan-David Murrilo (JDM); Kaja Marczewska (KM); Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (JSN); Sofie Angharad Roberts (SAR).

Apologies: Bob Cox-Wrightson; Tamsin Roswell.

Date & Time: 21 January 2022, 3:00-5:00pm GMT

Note: Participants that want an active role in the BRN to please email what they are able to contribute to SAR. Please email cop402@bangor.ac.uk by February 7th.

Welcome and introduction

SR: The background to setting up the BRN is based on the lack of research between the book trade and academia. The network was established to create a space for those interested in bookshops, a place to share relevant information, history, and to join the dots. The BRN website is a community and information hub.

The aims of this meeting are to build the network’s aims and objectives.

EM: We have funding for four BRN sessions and some funds towards this year’s conference at Hay on Wye. These events will discuss the need of booksellers and the interests of booksellers, and bring these elements together.

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