The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Independent Bookshop Numbers Continue to Grow Against Challenging High Street Backdrop

The number of independent bookshops in membership of the Booksellers Association in the UK and Ireland has grown for the sixth consecutive year, marking a decade of growth following over 20 years of decline, the Booksellers Association has announced today.
The Booksellers Association (which represents independent, chain and non-traditional booksellers across the UK and Ireland) released the figures as part of its annual membership survey, which revealed that the number of independent bookshops in BA membership at the end of 2022 grew to 1072 shops, up from 1027 in 2021, and the lowest point of 867 in 2016. This marks the highest number of independent bookshops in BA membership in 10 years.
New independent bookshops which opened in 2022 include:
  • Backstory, Balham
  • Banner Books, Kilrush, Ireland
  • Battersea Bookshop
  • Book Bodega, Ramsgate, Kent
  • Books on the Rise, Richmond, Surrey
  • Bored and Bookless, Worcester
  • BÜK, Nottingham
  • ChocoLit, Clapham
  • Dormouse Books, Belper, Derbyshire
  • Featherbed Books, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear
  • Goldfinch Books, Alton, Hampshire
  • Heron Books, Bristol
  • Hold Fast, Leeds
  • House of Books & Friends, Manchester
  • How Brave is the Wren, Birmingham
  • Jam Bookshop, Shoreditch
  • Juno Books, Sheffield
  • Ledbury Poetry House, Ledbury, Herefordshire
  • Magpie Books, Malpas, Cheshire
  • Max Minerva’s Portishead, Bristol
  • Night Owl Books, East Linton, Scotland
  • Paperxclips, Belfast
  • Real Magic Books, Wendover, Buckinghamshire
  • Red Hound Books, Walthamstow
  • Rossiter Books, Cheltenham
  • Seanchaí Books, Kildare, Ireland
  • The Berkhamsted Bookshop, Hertfordshire
  • The Berwyn Bookshop, Mynydd Isa, Wales
  • The Cleeve Bookshop, Bishops Cleeve, Gloucestershire
  • The Folkestone Bookshop
  • The Good Book Shop, Bristol
  • The Heath Bookshop, Birmingham
  • The Imaginarium, Lymington, Hampshire
  • The Little Green Bookshop, Herne Bay, Kent
  • The Manga Crate, Wellington, Shropshire
  • The Queery, Brighton
  • The Small City Bookshop, Bristol
  • The Wonky Tree Bookshop, Leyburn, North Yorkshire
  • Voce Books, Birmingham
Meryl Halls, Managing Director at the Booksellers Association, which represents chain and indie bookshops alike, said: “We are clearly delighted at the continued increase in the number of indie bookshops on our high streets.  Taken with the expansion seen within the Waterstones estate last year, this news confirms that bookshops are crucially important – and valued – parts of our high street communities.  Bookshops bring social and cultural capital to every town, village, suburb or city centre they are part of, and punch way about their weight in terms of impact and engagement locally, and nationally.  We want the number of bookshops to keep rising.
“What is particularly pleasing in the indie numbers is to be able to welcome a new cohort of booksellers to the industry; those with fresh eyes, new perspectives, energy and a commitment to the cultural contribution of bookselling to our society and our economy.  This new energy is so important to the future viability and diversity of our sector.
“The numbers of bookshops has grown gradually and slowly since 2016; during the pandemic we saw a frankly astonishing number of new entrants to bookselling.  Drawn by the cultural relevance of books, reading and bookshops, inspired by the activism on display amongst current booksellers, seeing bookselling as a valid and rewarding career choice – these are all reasons why people open bookshops, and we want each and every one of the shops to succeed.  
“However, with the economic headwinds coming our way, recession, inflation, labour shortages and massive cost increases across the board, we need – as an industry – to continue to support our new bookshops, whether indie or chain, along with those longer-established – bookselling is not easy, and margins are extremely tight and hard-won.   If we want bookshops to thrive on high streets, we have to equip them with strong support and resources, with viable commercial models, with pro-active advocacy and we have to interact with them with imagination and kindness.  We’re immensely proud at the BA of the increase in the number of bookshops, and of the impact made by our existing members.  It’s our job now to ensure that this number stabilises, and that the industry, and governments – and consumers – know what is at stake when we fight for the survival of bookshops in the UK and Ireland.”