As part of We Have Our Own Concept of Time and Motion: a four day event devoted to the idea and practice of self-organisation, The Alliance of Radical Booksellers speak about their network of sellers and the aims of the alliance, a network supporting independent radical bookstores in the UK which formed in 2011.
Up until the mid 1980s there were scores of radical bookshops in Britain – every major town had one. Many of these booksellers worked together under the mutual banner of the ‘Federation of Radical Booksellers’. The Federation acted as a support network for its members, helping with a variety of practical aspects of bookselling, as well as providing a sense of community. Sadly, as the book-trade hit hard times, the Federation collapsed.
Today we are left with a fraction of the bookshops that once flourished, with both small independents and corporate chains struggling to stay afloat. Radical booksellers have suffered the same fate as the mainstream shops, and many fine and wonderful shops have closed their doors. The Alliance of Radical Booksellers hopes to pick up where the Federation left off: as an organisation which allows its member booksellers to support each other, promote one another’s work, and sell books together.