‘What Good Things?’, you cry, all agog and shiny-eyed, almost exactly like my cats when they think they’re about to get cat treats. But with less fur. Probably.
There are sure to be more Good Things than even I know about, and I invite anyone to tell me what they are so I can add them to the list. But here are a couple to be going on with.
A review site and newsletter that has been started by a bunch of terrific book bloggers. Since literary coverage is dropping all the time in the press, and anyway they all only review the same four books, this is where to go if you want to know what to read next and why. They cover new fiction, obvs, but also reprints (yay!) and non-fiction.
So, this is kind of a book list and review site, but with a difference. This is your chance to create a virtual shop window in which to display those books that everyone else really ought to read now, this minute, like why aren’t you reading it already? It’s also your chance to link up with a local bookshop, so that if anyone buys the book from your site, your nominated bookshop gets a percentage of the sale.
The interface is very well done, so kudos is due to the designers because they really, really thought about the journey and it shows. There are other bookshops to be followed and competitions to be entered and if it takes off it all has the capacity to turn into quite the online community of only the best sort of people, i.e. readery types.
My Independent Bookshop is a Random Penguin + Hive initiative, and Hive is the bonus in this Good Thing because it’s an online bookstore that unites independent booksellers. We may call it ‘the anti-Amazon’. Although Hive is quicker to say. But it can be the anti-Amazon in our hearts.
You can check out my bookshop, which is called Books do furnish a room and you can also follow @myindiebookshop on the Twitter.
I promise that I wasn’t paid for any of this promotional stuff, it’s just heartening that despite all the ‘no-one reads, high streets are dying, death of the novel’ stories, there’s a counter-argument. And we, the people who read, and who want indie bookshops to stay alive, are pretty much it.