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Crowdfunder saves UK specialist bookshop

New Beacon Books, the UK’s first and only remaining black publisher and specialist bookshop, has been saved thanks to its community fundraiser.

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A campaign has raised funds well over the original target in just a matter of days

Thanks to a crowdfunded campaign launched by actor and academic Francesca Gilbert, the store raised £76,000 in just a few days. The initiative has saved the shop from closing and moving entirely online.

The store was founded in 1966 in order to provide readers poetry, literature, and children’s books from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, African America, Europe, South America, and Black Britain.

The new ‘lifeline’ has allowed the shop to move forward by paying rent, rates, and overheads, while also allowing the store to hire new staff, expand community work, and restore New Beacon Books’ publishing platform.

The shop sells a variety of books, along with its own publications and accessories like wrapping paper, cards, and calendars.

In a statement New Beacon Books says: “We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the online crowdfunding campaign and the many in-person purchases by the community.”

The company adds: “We would like to express again our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for this support.”

We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the online crowdfunding campaign and the many in-person purchases by the community.

The fundraiser represents the struggles and challenges faced by publishers and print-based retailers which have been affected by not only the pandemic, but also digital alternatives.

In 2017 the New Beacon Development Group was formed to allow the bookshop to survive following the formation of super publishers and the popularity of platforms like Amazon and Kindle.

The company has since looked to create a new generation of social media activists, students, educationalists, parents, and children. Its new aims are to look into new premises, run more events and educational programmes, as well as establish a New Beacon Development Fund.

“New Beacon Books would like to thank all those who have reached out, be it to lend their support, or to propose ways and means of raising funds. Their intervention has been most timely.”

If you have any news, email david@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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