INDEPENDENT booksellers across Oxfordshire are hoping to give their trade a boost with a new campaign.

Tomorrow sees the launch of Independent Booksellers Week, which gives shops the chance to showcase their distinctive wares.

Ten bookshops in Oxfordshire are taking part, in a push to combat competition from larger chains such as supermarkets and the High Street giants, as well as the rise of the ebooks on devices such as the Kindle.

Mostly Books in Abingdon is taking part and manager Mark Thornton said: “Where we see the future of our bookshops is in recommendations, so people come to us to buy a gift or get books for their children.

“I spent half an hour with a teacher today advising her on books for her library.

“We have got to innovate endlessly but I still think bookshops are relevant. This week will be a good opportunity to boost our profile.”

A total of 10 books have been made exclusively available to the shops taking part in Independent Booksellers Week, including A Life with Books by Julian Barnes, a new paperback edition of Apricot Jam and Other Stories by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the Faber Poetry Diary.

Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers’ Association, said: “Independent Booksellers Week will see events at bookshops across the country and for the first time bookshops are offering exclusive content during the week.

“Booksellers are hugely talented and passionate individuals and we want as many people as possible to visit their local independent bookshop this week and take a look at the exciting things going on in their community.”

Other events include a discussion by Dame Harriet Walker on her new photography book, Facing It: Reflections on Images of Older Women at Jaffe and Neale in Chipping Norton, and a talk with travel writer Robert Macfarlane at The Woodstock Bookshop.

David Whittaker, co-manager of The Book House in Summertown, said: “There are about 3,000 books published in the UK each week and that is too much for people to know what’s going on.

“The personal relationship with customers is important.”

  • For more details about the week, click on the link.