Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited The Steyning Bookshop on Thursday (21 June) to mark Independent Bookshop Week (16-23 June).
Mr Herbert met owner Sara Bowers who has been running the bookshop with her family for the last 34 years. The shop has received great support over the years from the many authors who make appearances and do book signings there. Steyning resident and renowned children’s author Julia Donaldson is a regular visitor to the store.
The bookshop’s busy events schedule throughout the year includes book signings, talks and ‘author suppers’. It is the relationship between the bookshop and its customers and authors which has contributed to their success as an independent seller.
The Steyning Bookshop has collaborated with high street neighbours The Sussex Produce Company to bring in well-known food writers to launch their books through events at the café. Mary Berry and John Torode are just two of the celebrity cooks who have visited to launch their books.
Sara and her team also coordinate the many literary events that form part of the Steyning Festival. This year, the bookshop held a short story writing competition which culminated in an awards dinner supported by guest authors.
The UK book market is the fifth largest in the world, behind the USA, China, Germany and Japan, and is the largest exporter of physical books. Physical books sales continue to increase, with £3.5 billion sales in 2016. Bookshops continue to have the largest share of books sales with 42 per cent sold through dedicated shops versus online and other retailers.
Nick Herbert said: “It was a pleasure to see Sara and Gudrun, to hear how busy they have been, and to buy a book from them. The Steyning Bookshop does much more than selling books because of all the events they host and their work at local schools. They are a great example of an independent book seller, and this is why I was especially pleased to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week with them.”