Sunday, 27 October 2013

Indie bookselling in Sheffield, a guest post by Eve Risner

"Over two years ago I got together with a small group of women and we decided to 'open a cafe/bookshop' in Sheffield city centre! Six months later the red tape and crazy rent and rates had defeated us but I remained focussed and determined to find an alternative way of becoming an independent bookseller in Sheffield.
"Having tested public reaction at local markets (and finding it very enthusiastic) I took on a small unit within a 'shopping emporium' called Birds Yard in Sheffield city centre. This was a way for local businesses to sell their products without the massive overheads of a shop. Birds Yard opened in December 2012 and is still going strong - although the future is not secure.
"My 'product' is the non-mainstream book - beautifully illustrated editions, many hardbacks but at an affordable price - books to cherish, books you wouldn't know you wanted until you saw them on my shelves.
"Since opening at Birds Yard I have also rented a small unit at the Nichols Building in Sheffield. The Nichols building sells largely vintage furniture, artifacts and clothing - as well as my new books, I don't generally sell children's books.
"I have also expanded to Handpicked Hall (no relation) Leeds - another centre for independent businesses to 'get started' and to test out whether there is a market for their product.
'Handpicking' the books is what I enjoy most and seeing people's pleasure on discovering books that they may not have found themselves."
You can find Handpicked Books at
The picture below is from Handpicked, one of several books by the Nottingham writer Dorothy Whipple, published by Persophone. I want those bookends...

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