This appears to be only a UK thing, but hopefully it can be a good excuse for the rest of the world to be kind to independent booksellers too. There’s a whole lot more about the event at its official website, and if you are UK-based you should go there to find out more about independent bookstores in your area.
For my own part I’d like to recommend Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights and Toppings, both in Bath (Toppings is also in Ely). They are generalist bookstores and so don’t sell a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy, but they are staffed by people who love books and who are happy to recommend good writing no matter what the subject matter. They also do great events. A shout out too for Hydra Books in Bristol who have lots of interesting political books, and are very happy to stock LGBT-themed work. Forbidden Planet in Bristol are lovely people too, though I’m not sure how small you have to be to qualify as independent.
While this is theoretically a UK event, I can’t let such a thing go by without a mention of Borderlands Books in San Francisco, which is everything you could want in an science fiction and fantasy specialist. The Other Change of Hobbit in Berkeley is great too. I understand they’ve been going through some rough times of late, but I think they are open again now. And then there’s Dark Carnival, also in Berkeley, which in all my years of living in the Bay Area I never managed to visit.
Yes, there are three specialist SF&F bookstores in the Bay Area. Is it any wonder I miss the place so much?
Finally, of course, I have my own bookstore. I suspect that some of the supporters of Independent Booksellers Week will see me as part of the Evil Empire. A lot of the publicity I’m seeing for the event talks about shopping locally. But it simply isn’t practical for every small town to have an independent bookstore, and anyway most of what I sell is only available through SF&F specialists, so I think I count. More to the point, I’ve been deluged with new books in the past few days and I’m going to take IBW as an excuse to talk about them a lot.
Yesterday we had the July editions of Clarkesworld and Lightspeed added to the store. I wrote about them here. I’m also finishing up adding a pile of new books from Book View Cafe. The latest additions have been works by Jeffrey A. Carver. They are hard-ish SF, and probably the most interesting title is Eternity’s End, which was a Nebula nominee.