The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Number of independent bookshops in BA membership increase for fifth consecutive year

The number of independent bookshops in membership of the BA in the UK and Ireland has grown for the fifth consecutive year, marking half 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 2021 grew to 1027 shops, up from 867 in 2016. This marks the highest number of bookshops in BA membership since 2013.
New independent bookshops which opened in 2021 include:
  • Afrori Books, Brighton
  • BOOK Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
  • Bookhaus, Bristol
  • DNA Norwich, Norfolk
  • FOLDE Dorset, Dorset
  • Gloucester Road Books, Bristol
  • Outwith Books, Glasgow
  • Rare Birds Books, Edinburgh
  • Storyville Books, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales
  • the bound, Northumberland
  • The Alnwick Bookshop, Northumberland
  • The Athlone Bookshop, County Westmeath, Ireland
  • The Ivybridge Bookshop, Devon
  • The Reading Tree, Northamptonshire
  • Upper Street Bookshop, London
Meryl Halls, Managing Director at the Booksellers Association, said: “After a challenging few years for the bookselling sector, it is reassuring  to see the number of independent bookshops in BA membership grow for afifth consecutive year. The fact that the number of bookshops can increase in the face of lockdowns, restrictions and supply chain issues demonstrates the passion, innovation and determination of booksellers, who continue to bring books to readers even in the most challenging circumstances.
“While we celebrate this good news as we head into the new year, it is important to recognise the context for this growth. The high street is still in a precarious position, with potential disruption to retail activity and consumer confidence on the horizon, the playing field still skewed in the favour of tech giants, and supply chains causing issues across retail. While booksellers continue to be leaders on their high streets and main streets, as evidenced in the research undertaken for the BA by the Institute of Place Management (IPM), they need to be supported in order to keep doing their important work. We will continue to lobby the Government to support booksellers and provide proper assistance and guidance, and are working with publishers and distributors to ease the effect of supply chain issues on bookshops. And, as ever, we will work to encourage the public to choose bookshops whenever they can.”