What is going on?

A year ago, in July 2015

We had our share issue, business plan, financials, building plans, registration and trademark all ready to go and were hoping to complete negotiations on our lease.

Then: bombshell 

Wandsworth Council announced they might redevelop the site of the current Northcote Library and build a new one opposite.

Since then we have explored a number of options.

Should we:

  • Hold fast to our vision of the Northcote Book Place (library, café and professionally run bookshop with events) wherever the library is?
  • Kiss goodbye to the vision of Northcote Book Place and just be a little pop-up bookstall in the library run by volunteers?
  • Try to make a bookshop work on its own in this area of such high rents and rates?
  • Abandon the library, and go somewhere else on the Northcote Road?
  • Or leave the Northcote Road completely?

Our decision: to stick to our guns.

The Northcote Book Place is the very best idea; it would be a valued and distinctive destination for the neighbourhood and has won support from all quarters, including the Council and councillors, who would include us in their plans for a new building if they go forward with this project. A brand-new purpose-designed and built building could offer us and the neighbourhood, some great opportunities.

However, we will not know what the Council’s final decision on the building is until February 2016 at the earliest. So we are on hold but not giving up! The Board continues to meet, and keeps the campaign alive. We continue to welcome your support and involvement, particularly when we organise events.

We would like to thank all those people who have given us huge amounts of pro-bono professional expertise so far, and all those who have advised, encouraged and supported us, and indicated they would be likely to buy community shares when the time comes.

Meanwhile in the UK

This week is Children’s Book Week and in the last year, printed children’s books have seen an 11% increase; the decline of printed book sales in the UK overall has slowed and the sale of e-books seems to have plateaued.  The bookshops that have stayed open report a small rise in their turnover. The recent Independent Bookshops Week celebrated the great contribution that bookshops make to our lives and our high streets. The message is:  Books are not dead!

So please stick with us, and we will prevail and get Northcote Book Place up and running IN THE END! And that will only be the beginning.