- Tuesday 7 December 2021
The Sheffield Markets is the place where the clever people in South Yorkshire do their shopping. Forget your derelict John Lewis building and Meadowhell – get yer sen down to the Moor Market. I’ve known this for a while, so it seemed such a good idea to have a pop up shop there on the run up to Christmas, shared with three other Sheffield publishers. We’d be there, in the heart of it, next to the broken biscuits stall and within smell range of Greggs.
Well, let’s just say it wasn’t my best idea. Turns out folk who shop in the market don’t buy books, not even books from £2 each. Now this next bit won’t make comfortable reading. I get I’m very much oversimplifying a situation and really do get that there is absolutely no reason why anybody should like my books. But here is the truth of the matter as I see it: a week in to running a pop-up bookstall on the Moor, I’ve discovered that the working classes of Sheffield don’t really buy books. This would appear to be mirrored in child literacy levels being less than ideal in low-income families. A bit rubbish really. We can do what we tend to do, shrug our shoulders and carry on publishing for our tribe, or we can stop a second and do something about it. I’ve stopped for a second.
For every book sold from our website between now and Christmas (actually from a couple of days ago when I wrote this) we will donate a book to our friends at the S6 Foodbank. We are also reaching out to a couple of literacy charities to see if they want some books donating and a couple of education authorities we’ve worked with to see if we can get classroom packs of books sent out to them. That’s it. Simple. We’ll even round up the donation to the next hundred.
What else can we do? We’d like to help inspire people to read, inspire people to have their own adventures, and to appreciate and (dare I say) respect the environment of our play space. How can we do this if there isn’t a tradition of book buying in their household and their school library is a forgotten cupboard?
So we are going to do something else. Two more things.
If you buy a copy of Wild Waters between now and Christmas, we will donate a second copy to a charity, school, library or community organisation of your choice – just tell us where it needs to go in the order notes section at checkout.
Likewise, if you buy a copy of Fantastic Female Adventurers, we will donate a second copy to a school (or library, etc.) of your choice. Again, just let us know in the order notes at checkout.
That is it. We are down at the Moor Markets.