The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

BA Diversity & Inclusiveness Policy

The BA is committed to improving diversity and inclusiveness in the bookselling sector, both in the workplace, and in the range of books on bookshop shelves.

The BA is committed to helping booksellers to create diverse and inclusive workplaces, to serve diverse and minority communities with relevant book titles, help and information and to foster a welcoming environment for all customers, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality, socio-economic background, age or faith.  Bookshops should be welcoming spaces for all who love books and offering welcome to all creates a richer environment for all.

Moreover, the BA is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace of its own, and to always consider matters of diversity in all our public and trade facing activities, including (but not limited to) appointing booksellers to our own governing bodies, appointing speakers on panels, using photographs on print and online materials and in the language we use in our communications.
We understand the wide-ranging nature of the term diversity as including: 
Ethnicity, Race/heritage/culture, Disability, Sexuality, Gender, Gender Identity, Socio-economic background, Age, Faith

BA Workforce Diversity Survey 2022

The BA is proud to publish our first Workforce Diversity Survey, providing us with the first snapshot of the demographics of bookselling.   Conducted for us confidentially by EA Inclusion, the Survey paints a picture of a sector which attracts booksellers in from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, provides a safe space for LGBTQ booksellers, and those with mental health challenges and neurodiverse conditions, but which continues to under-represent booksellers of colour.  The Report has provided us with food for thought, and the BA’s Equality and Inclusion Action Group will be working with EA Inclusion and other bodies to formulate an Inclusion Action Plan for Bookselling in the coming months.

Key findings of the Report include:

  • 71% of respondents identified as female (vs 51% of the population*)
  • 7% of respondents’ gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth (vs 1% of the population*)
  • 23% of respondents identified as LGB+ (lesbian, gay, bi, or preferred to self-describe their sexual orientation) (vs 3% of the population*)
  • 7% of respondents identified as being from ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) (vs 18% of the population*)
  • 29% of respondents identified as having a disability or long-term health condition (vs 18% of the population*)
  • 23% of respondents have a neurodiverse condition (vs 15% of the population [ACAS])
  • More than a third (35%) are currently experiencing mental health problems (vs one in six in the population [Mind])
  • 59% of respondents had professional backgrounds (vs 37% of the population [Social Mobility Commission])
  • 17% of respondents attended an independent of fee-paying school (vs 7% of the population [Sutton Trust and Social Mobility Commission]) while 20% of respondents were eligible for Free School Meals during their school years
  • The majority of respondents agreed/ strongly agreed that they feel included (93%), respected (92%), and like they belong (94%) at work.

Read the Workforce Diversity Survey.


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group

The BA has set up an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group to improve the diversity of the industry and of the bookselling sector, and to increase inclusion, both for booksellers and for their customers.
The Action Group will look at both the diversity challenges within bookselling as a career, as well as representation issues around stocking appropriate titles and working with publishers and other partners. The Action Group will help to set the remit for the BA as widely as required.

We are inviting members to get involved in the Action Group, to assist the BA in identifying key goals, help set the agenda for the BA and its membership, and work with the BA to create resources, advice and help for booksellers in this arena. Any bookseller who would like to join our BA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group should email to express an interest. 

Diversity & Inclusiveness Grants Project

The Diversity and Inclusiveness Grants Project was launched in 2018, with an unprecedented £50,000 being dedicated over two years to help bookshops deliver practical initiatives to increase inclusivity in their shop or in their community. The goal of the project was ultimately to enable real tangible change in diversity and inclusiveness in bookselling across the UK and Ireland. The third and final tranche of grants were awarded in early 2020.

Projects awarded the grants included: funding for a festival in a marginalised community, wheelchair ramps, writing projects for minority writers, the provision of sensory story time materials for autistic children, the provision of books and conversation for older people in care homes, and several projects to reach young LGBTQ and BAME audiences.

The grants were awarded by a panel invited by the BA to oversee the grant selections, comprising: 
•    Nic Bottomley, BA President
•    Cathy Rentzenbrink, author, former bookseller and former head of Quick Reads 
•    Uli Lennart, manager of Gay’s the Word Bookshop in London 
•    Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher of Hachette’s new inclusive imprint Dialogue Books


Guide to Creating Inclusive Bookshops

View and download our Guide to Creating Inclusive Bookshops below:

The Guide aims to inspire booksellers with information on the work going on in the bookselling sector, and to start the conversation about diversity and inclusion in bookshops.  Many bookshops are already very active in this area, and we would love to hear from any booksellers with projects or ideas in this arena.  If you have suggestions for additions to the Guide please do email 


Resources & Information

Book Trust
Book Trust are a great source of inspiration and book lists if you are keen to look beyond your normal stock range - they have a keen eye for representation, diversity and inclusiveness in their book choices.

New book reviews 
Books about refugees
Book Trust Bookfinder

Children’s Publishers with diverse lists
New Frontier –
Alanna –
Lantana –
Tiny Owl –
Otter-Barry –
Gecko Press –
Curious Fox –
Barefoot Books –
Child’s Play – and their list of useful titles 
The Guardian 50 best culturally diverse books -

BAME publishers and imprints with diverse lists
Books of Africa -
Dialogue Books -
Jacaranda -
Knights Of -
#Merky Books -
Peepal Tree Press -
Tamarind -

Other research and guidance
The BA has produced a short guide Dealing with racially-motivated abuse in a bookshop.

For information on diversity and equality legislation in the Equality Act, you can find it all here 

In June 2020, the UK’s first academic study on diversity in trade fiction and publishing calls on industry to “radically reimagine” its audience in the 21st century was released. You can find the full report here and the executive summary here.

If you are interested in finding out more about organizations in the Diversity & Inclusiveness arena, including First Story (who take writers into underprivileged schools), Inclusive Minds (who help create children's books that meet the needs of all readers, including those from minority groups), Letterbox Library (who specialise in selling books that celebrate inclusion, diversity and equality), Creative Access (who place interns within the creative industries), Arts Emergency (who mentor young people from underprivileged backgrounds), a good place to start is a booklet  produced by the Publishers Association,  

You could also look at Business In the Community website, which has lots of useful advice, and a handy pocket guide to talking about race. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the economic case for Diversity & Inclusiveness, publisher Chris McCrudden has created a thought-provoking presentation.

Here's an interesting article by an author about how black girls can be princesses too.

Publishers with active diversity projects for staff have shared those on the PA's website - you can see some of them here.

If you have ideas for materials and resources you would like to see in this section, or questions on this area, in the first instance please contact