Now an association to empower independent bookstores

We have read and written about the adverse effects of Covid-19 in the publishing business. Now, it appears that the pandemic has resulted into something important for the publishing supply chain. Recently, owners of six independent bookstores across India came together from the Independent Bookshops Association of India (IBAI), with the aim to bring independent bookstores across India together, forging partnerships within and outside the publishing industry, and advocating for rights.

03 Jun 2020 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

IBAI aims to bring independent bookstores across India together

The six founders include Diviya Kapur of Literati, Goa; Raman Shresta of Rachna Books, Gangtok; Leonard and Queenie Fernandes of The Dogears Bookshop, Goa; Neha Tiwari and Vishal Pipraiya of Pagdandi Bookstore Cafe, Pune; Aman and Mayura Misra of Storyteller Bookstore, Kolkata; and Ahalya and Meethil Momaya of Trilogy, Mumbai.

Explaining how it all started, Leonard Fernandes said, “Earlier this year, when a few of us got together to discuss the need for our country’s independent bookshops to come together and set up a united front, we were eager to get started immediately. We set up conference calls, emailed drafts of objectives and rules, and designed logos, but our plans to meet up and formalise the structure of the organisation has gotten delayed, understandably, by the covid-19 pandemic.”

Fernandes added that it was the pandemic that showed the booksellers exactly why there is a need to come together and pool in knowledge and voices, and support each other.

“During the lockdown, with our beloved bookshops closed, we have had more time to understand the range of concerns that affect independent bookshops, what our common needs are and how we can help each other. We have been assessing our readiness to deal with the new normal, sharing book recommendations with each other, and our best practices, so when we restart it is with renewed vigour and most importantly, with friends. We have already started helping each other out by fulfilling orders for each other,” Fernandes added.

Now, IBAI is inviting the country’s independently owned bookshops to join us so we can combine our strengths and our love for what we do best, find ever-loving homes for the best books. Over the next few days, we hope that this call is responded to by our fellow booksellers and we hope that readers join us by supporting our venture and seek us out, via our membership directory, so that we can serve more readers.”

The mission of the Independent Bookshops Association of India is to represent, promote and empower independent bookstores, with the following stated objectives and goals:

  • To be a spokesperson for its members and actively promote the role of independent bookstores in the publishing industry
  • To be a bridge between independent bookstores and other stakeholders in the book publishing and book retail industry including institutional buyers (of books) and readers
  • To foster a network of members who share resources and best practices
  • To be a forum where members can voice their concerns regarding the book publishing and book retail industry
  • To assist members grow their business by facilitation and encouraging partnerships within and outside the publishing industry
  • To liaise with the state and central governments as a representative of its members on topics concerning laws and policies that may directly or indirectly affect the business of its members

Find more about Independent Bookshops Association of India at its website or its social media handle @bookshopsindia.