The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Bookshop.org and BA Announce Winners of New Futures to Champion Diverse Voices in Bookselling

06/04/2022
Bookshop.org, the ethically conscious book-buying platform that supports independent bookshops, and The Booksellers Association (BA) have today announced the winners of its innovative New Futures programme at The London Book Fair.
 
A ground-breaking new initiative to promote the opening of new independent bookshops from underrepresented communities across the UK, New Futures received 32 original applications from individuals who identified as black and other marginalised ethnicities, LGBTQIA+, working class, physically disabled, neurodiverse, sufferers of mental health issues and those with learning disabilities amongst others.
 
The New Futures winners are:
  A small, community based, colourful bookshop where children, young people and adults can explore and discover the Manga and Graphic novels. Through The Otaku Project, some will be discovering a new way into reading, others will be making new friends, and everyone will be able to discover the book or series that suits them and an easy way to buy and collect.

Scott is a 24-year-old with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia, who found it very difficult to write fast, do maths or read traditional novels as fast as everyone else at school. His discovery of Manga books, despite being disparaged by teachers, radically improved his reading, and inspired him to create a bookshop to open the world of Manga and Graphic Books to an audience that don’t feel they’re readers, or recognised by traditional bookshops.
  Olive’s Book Club is a queer, feminist, anti-racist and anti-ableist book shop and one-woman owned business based in Newcastle Upon Tyne (where there are currently no independent bookshops). It will sell fiction and non-fiction titles that aim to share the stories and voices of marginalised voices, bring people together through reading and education and to create a community of activism within the local area.
 
Emily is a working class, queer woman living with chronic mental health issues. She set up an online bookshop during the pandemic (not without challenges) and is keen to expand her business with brick-and-mortar premises. Her full-time job in nursing allows her to interact and communicate with a hugely diverse group of people every day, which has been a key transferable skill for her business.
  The PRIM Bookstore will be a community HQ and a platform for education and collaboration. Created as a result of a love for reading, The PRIM Bookstore aims to provide another avenue for building community – a sober space, an educational space, a place where we can feed our minds. They will sell books as well as offering an on-going exhibition of photography, short stories, films and 3D art prioritising queer people of Black ancestry. They’ll also offer event hire space, recording and DJ studios, workspace and a library.
 
Born a Nigerian and raised in East London, K has worked in Parliament, for WeWork, as a head-hunter, and in the publishing industry. She has a solid understanding of business, what is required, the systems and process, operating costs and what customers and readers want. Her hope is to use this knowledge to create a space that can contribute powerfully to the people of her community.
 
In addition, the judges selected as highly commended:
  The Jacaranda bookshop will be the publisher’s physical space for selling directly from their prize-winning list representing the best of contemporary literature from across the African Diaspora, as well as, importantly, supporting independent presses whose books align with their ethos. They will use the bookshop for hosting events and creating a localised community hub for residents, underrepresented communities of colour and for creative and open-minded Londoners and beyond.
 
After a first-round selection, the shortlisted candidates received a concentrated education programme from key industry partners – including The Booksellers Association, Google, Midas and publishers Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House and Faber & Faber – to equip them with the best possible tools to draw a business plan, upon which the final winners were selected. They also received advice from independent booksellers including Round Table Books and Afrori Books.
 
Emily Rose Clifton said: “As a New Future winner, I now have a greater set of tools and contacts to enable me to finally create my physical dream bookshop, a community driven, educational  and safe space for the North East. I am beyond thrilled’.
 
Scott Hulme said: “It’s so exciting to be a part of this change for good. The course has made me see how possible my ambition is, as well as the work it’s going to take to realise it. It’s broken down barriers, given me a huge amount of confidence and knowledge,  and I feel I am on my way.
 
K Bailey Obazee said: "I am thrilled to be selected as a winner for New Futures. My vision is to create a space that is more than just a bookstore, it's a haven, a place of learning, networking and coming together. A space where my community feels welcome, all the time! The PRIM Bookstore is for all of us a reminder that we can thrive, we can imagine and have better for ourselves - and now New Futures will be a part of PRIM's origin story!"
 
The winners were chosen by novelist, screenwriter and journalist Nikesh Shukla; founder and CEO of Beautystack and The Stack World Sharmadean Reid; former HarperCollins’s Talent and Audience Development Manager Nancy Adimora; The Bookseller Editor Philip Jones; indie booksellers at Independent Bookshop of the Year Sevenoaks Bookshop Fleur Sinclair, and Mairi Oliver owner and bookseller at Lighthouse Bookshop – Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop.
 
Mairi Oliver, Owner and Bookseller at Lighthouse Bookshop, said: "Over the years I've been approached by so many bookshop hopefuls – most from working class & marginalised backgrounds – desperate to find out how/whether they too might one day run their own bookshop. New Futures was an opportunity to offer more than cobbled together advice and well-meaning encouragement, to provide tangible support, trade tools and contacts, and really open the door to entrepreneurs our industry desperately needs. This year's winners bring with them the promise of vibrant, inclusive, creative bookselling the length of the UK. As a bookseller it has been a real privilege to play a small part in Emily, K Bailey and Scott's journeys; as a reader I can't wait to step into their bookshops one day."
 
Meryl Halls, Managing Director of The Booksellers Association, said: “We are proud and delighted to be partnering with Bookshop.org on this innovative and inspiring project, and it has been a real privilege to see the applications come in, and see the bookshop dream taking shape for so many energetic and visionary individuals.  We are in good hands if the energy and commitment to this process is an indicator of the next generation of booksellers. We wish all the shortlistees, and the winners, the very best on their bookselling journey, and the BA will be poised to assist throughout the journey, and be waiting to welcome you all when your time to open arrives.”
 
Bookshop.org will provide support through the Bookshop.org platform and through social channels to help the winners on their journey to opening.  All winners will receive immediate benefits of an enhanced Bookshop.org affiliate commission for an initial six month period,  to help begin the process of curating and selling books, as well as raising funds ahead of their opening.
 
Upon opening, benefits for the winners will include BA Membership and a suite of supported services; one-year’s digital subscription to The Bookseller; an enhanced opening stock package from Gardners Books; a branding workshop with Shamadean Reid; PR training support from Midas ahead of opening; and a Batchline EPOS system; and other support from New Futures partners.
 
Nicole Vanderbilt, Managing Director of Bookshop.org, said: “We are excited to announce the winners of the New Future programme. The strength of their business plans, coupled with the determination and creativity that inspired the visions for their own independent bookshops, were a real inspiration for us, proving that there is a need and appetite for creating new independent bookshops.
 
We are looking forward to following the next steps of each winner, as they progress to put their plans into action and realise their dream of opening a brand new independent bookshop to serve their local communities. By providing immediate benefits to the winners, we hope they will be able to start trading and earning revenue before their physical shop opens, reducing the gap that exists between business plan and opening.”
 
Find out more about New Futures and the winners here. Follow the latest developments on social media: @Bookshop_org_UK | #NewFutures