Reading Lives: bookshops, communities and changing print cultures

Designing content for our reading lives and communities

Mary Curzon sourced her reading material in ways that will be familiar: friends gave her books or made recommendations;  books were sent to her in India via the postal service and she scoured the shelves for unread material.

The Books and Print Sandbox prompted much reflection on new cultures of reading and 'where' reading a digital biography might take place and ‘how’ you would find and buy the digital book.

We wanted to contribute to the creative ways in which large and independant booksellers are securing their place on the high street. Charlotte talks here about the potential of NFC bookmarks to ensure the high street bookshop tills are able to take advantage of the digital reading revolution and enable digital books to be gifted and found with ease.

We used Crediton Bookshop  as a site for testing within the project. The bookshop is  a much loved place within the Devon market town of Crediton,  established and run by Jill Holden since 1983. This independent  bookshop has endured through the revolution in online-selling, however the planned retirement of Jill has galvanized a group of individuals to come together and develop a Community Bookshop to ensure its survival.

The Crediton Community Bookshop is a not-for-profit organization who have launced a Share Offer scheme to enable the community to own and run this store. Community schemes have become an increasingly common alternative economic model throughout the Global North and South. Community libraries, food-stores, post offices and bookshops have emerged within the ruptures of capitalism and speak to the need to build resilliant communities in the face of economic and environmental stress. Projects like Crediton Community Bookshop offer spaces of hope which bind people and place together and enable relationships of care: for creativity, for the economic well-being of our high streets, for current and new generations of readers. 

The Crediton Community Bookshop is operating a share scheme: you can take part and be part of this extraordinary group that aims to keep our acess to books on our doorstep.

Thank you to Jill and the Crediton Community Bookshop team for enabling us to test ‘DIgitising the Dollar Princess’ on the high street.