The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Independent Bookshop Week 2023 Reveals Early Initiatives and Ambassadors


The Booksellers Association (BA) has today unveiled the initial plans for Independent Bookshop Week (IBW), the annual celebration of independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland, which takes place between 17-24 June 2023 and with Hachette UK as the headline sponsor. 

This year, best-selling authors Maggie O’Farrell, Joseph Paterson and Rev Richard Coles are confirmed to take part in the campaign as official ambassadors. They will also be appearing at bookshop events up and down the country – with more details and venues to be revealed. 

Almost 700 independent bookshops are now confirmed to take part, more than ever before. Aiming to celebrate independent booksellers and their shops, highlighting the essential role they play in their local communities and high streets, Independent Bookshop Week encourages book-buyers to visit and support their local indie, during the week and beyond.  

From Cressida Cowell’s Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag to indie bookshops extending their premises, and from best-selling novels inspiring bespoke bookshop windows to an exclusive poem celebrating indie bookshops, Independent Bookshop Week 2023 will come back in full swing this year. 

Early initiatives for IBW 2023 include: 

  • The Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag will feature Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon artwork this year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the popular children’s book series. 

  • Local artists will be working with independent bookshops to create a bespoke window art for Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club books, with the windows going live from Monday 12 June. 

  • Rev Richard Coles will be doing selected indie bookshop events during IBW and will be signing stock in in the shops. A special indie bookshop edition of his new novel A Death in the Parish will be available exclusively from indies. 

  • Bookshop Crawl UK will be organising an Oxford Bookshop Crawl on Saturday 24 June, an afternoon exploring the city of Oxford and its beautiful bookshops, for a chance to meet fellow book lovers, swap book recommendations and buy books – with a stop for tea and cake mid-afternoon. More info here

  • Award-winning independent bookshop The Bookery (Crediton) will be celebrating their 10th anniversary with a host of events, activities and workshops, including with Patrons Michael Morpurgo, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. They will also be officially opening their bookshop extension during IBW. 



Following the success of poems created by Brian Bilston and Hollie McNish, Dean Atta, poet and the award-winning author of The Black Flamingo, has created a bespoke Independent Bookshop Week poem to support the campaign, titled Thank You to the Independent Booksellers. The poem will be shared on social media at 6pm on Wednesday 21 June. 



Bookshops from National Book Tokens is back for a fifth year, having enabled indies across the UK and Ireland to give away more than £130,000 to their loyal, local customers since 2019.  

The mechanic is simple – each participating shop receives 100 flyers bearing unique codes, which customers receiving them enter online to claim a free £5/€5 National Book Tokens e-Gift card to bring back and spend instore.  

Since it launched, High Five has become a valuable, footfall-driving asset to the annual Independent Bookshop Week celebrations. 


All book-lovers are once again invited to organise their own bookshop crawl to celebrate IBW, and the Bookshop Map on the Books Are My Bag website is a useful resource to find local indies near you and plan your itinerary. 


Building on the success of previous years, the Indie Twinning strand of IBW is coming back for a fourth year, with independent publishers and independent bookshops teaming up to develop bespoke programmes of activity across the country. 

Rev Richard Coles said: “There is no place better than an independent bookshop, not least because they are often home to an excellent bookshop dog! I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting booksellers over the last year and am extraordinarily grateful for their zealous efforts to champion Canon Clement, his mother Audrey and their dachshunds. And I can’t wait to visit and meet many more this summer!” 

Maggie O’Farrell said: “All hail independent bookshops, without which our bookshelves and our high streets would be so much the poorer. Everyone who can, should visit their local bookshop during IBW, to celebrate these temples to reading, and perhaps discover something new to read.” 

Paterson Joseph said: “I’m delighted to be an ambassador for this year’s Independent Bookshop Week. What I’ve learnt this year as debut novelist is how fantastic independent bookshops are. I’ve met the most wonderful people and the most enthusiastic readers there. One of my favourite independents is New Beacon Books in London – they have been an advocate for Black literature for many years. I look forward to celebrating bookshops this Independent Bookshop Week.” 

Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the BA, commented: “Independent Bookshop Week is one of our favourite times of the year. The aim of the week is to celebrate the passion, creativity and incredible drive of independent booksellers, and remind everyone how crucial they are to our high streets and local communities. With events, exclusives, special initiatives, bookshop crawls and more activities already confirmed, we can’t wait to reveal further campaign plans over the next few months, and for everyone to join in the celebrations during Independent Bookshop Week and beyond!” 

Follow the latest developments via social media: #IndieBookshopWeek @BooksAreMyBag