Notes on meeting on 10 April 2013

Present: Hugo Gorst-Williams, Adrian Sarson, Lindsey Napier, Susie O’Reilly, Dave and Viv Taylor Gee

Apologies: June Addison, Justin Walford and Judith Howard

Decisions:

  1. Launch a Bookshop Build-up to raise awareness and support of the forthcoming bookshop, and the launch of the bookshop share issue. This would also ensure supporters would not lose interest while the nitty gritty is sorted out. The Build-up would include:
    1. Presence in other events: eg Northcote Road fête on 7 July
    2. Our own events: eg a children´s event with local authors and illustrators. Local author Paul Bryers to be approached, who also might be able to involve the Children’s Writers and Illustrators in South London group. Hugo to meet and discuss.
    3. Find a corporate lawyer to help with the legal aspect of becoming a Community Benefit Society Incorporated under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965, or whichever model is most appropriate, with the advice of Cooperatives UK. Viv to put a note on Street Life/NappyValleyNet/Dents road group or similar.
    4. Form a small group of people, ideally ex teachers, who would help to establish a connection with local schools and colleges to discuss the bookshop providing their books, possibly involving support from parents’ associations and governors.
    5. Make contact with the French community to explore making French books and children’s books a feature of the shop. There is the Ecole de Wix in Clapham, linked to the Lycee Charles de Gaulle- The French government supports independent bookshops and possibly the Alliance Française de Londres could be interested.
    6. Lindsey will kindly draw up the Big Society Fund application that has to be in by 13 May, and Viv will report back on meeting with councillors Dawson, Cooke and Johnson on 11 April 2013.
    7. Adrian will kindly give support on the financial side, when the numbers have been made available, and a finance group has been formed.
    8. Lindsey, Hugo and Susie will kindly start work on the mission statement, aims and business plan and will report back.
    9. Sub groups on finance and legal will meet in the next few weeks and report back.
    10. Next meeting Wednesday 8 May 2013.

Discussion

Discussion ranged across a wide range of topics. It was agreed that

  • There was no need for market research into demand at this point but when we did we could use Survey Monkey and perhaps promote it through social media, NappyValleyNet, Stree tLife etc to get a wider sample.
  • It was important that the bookshop could track down any book for a customer, and that it had a strong online presence, but whatever online solution we came to –  eg hive.co.uk, Kobo, our own selections, etc: different bookshop approach this in different ways –   we could not build a new Amazon (!).
  • That we would not be stocking the latest airport blockbusters, but specialising in good quality books, new books, award-winning books, specialist books, recommended books or hidden treasures, both for adults and children. That with the library around us, people would have the choice to browse, borrow or buy.
  • The library would be a good partner for the creative and artistic literary and literacy events. We could involve local celebrities in our activities. The bookshop should offer a rich and creative place to go!
  • The price of individual shares will have to be decided, we could offer gift-packed shares, shares on behalf of children etc.
  • If at all possible, the bookshop should start strong with a good staff, to make an impact. The sooner the manager could be appointed therefore, the better, but first things first, ie legal and financial foundation.

The meeting broke up at 11pm, by which time the food and drink had nearly run out.