Independent Southampton book shop appeals for help to survive

UNDER THREAT: Tim Swain and Ian Lamming.

UNDER THREAT: Tim Swain and Ian Lamming.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

AFTER 37 years of trading, a Hampshire bookstore is in jeopardy and is appealing for your help to save it.

October Books based in Portswood has launched an appeal to raise the £6,000 it needs to renew its lease.

Without it the store could face the axe but staff are determined not to close.

The co-operatively run bookshop has been in Southampton for 37 years, and in Portswood Road for 11 years.

Staff say business has been affected by Southampton University’s Student Entitlement Card, which was introduced in 2011 and gives users £300 pre-loaded to buy books, stationery and other goods from John Smith’s shops and website.

However the card is now being phased out and October Books expect sales to recover as a result.

Ian Lamming, of October Books, said: “So many independent stores have been forced out of high streets by rising rents, high rates and taxes that small businesses struggle with, but we are determined not to be one of them.

“We know that October Books has many friends out there, and must have a future, so we are asking for help to get us through this sticky patch.

“We are appealing to our friends to come and buy an extra book and help us raise the £6,000 we need.”

The campaign is supported by leader of Southampton City Council, Simon Letts.

He said: “October Books is a Southampton institution, one of only a few remaining independent book sellers in Hampshire. I fully support their appeal at this time.”

To help the campaign or donate visit the store at 243, Portswood Road.

Comments (7)

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11:21am Mon 19 May 14

S Pance says...

Councillors get an annual allowance to donate to local worth causes. Have any Councillors donated?
Councillors get an annual allowance to donate to local worth causes. Have any Councillors donated? S Pance
  • Score: 14

12:21pm Mon 19 May 14

joblow says...

I remember when this shop was in onslow road when i was younger..I hope something can be done to help out
I will pop in and buy a few books..It all helps.
I remember when this shop was in onslow road when i was younger..I hope something can be done to help out I will pop in and buy a few books..It all helps. joblow
  • Score: 7

12:54pm Mon 19 May 14

derek james says...

hope they raise the money but with books on ebay and amazon including secondhand ones it's going to be difficult
hope they raise the money but with books on ebay and amazon including secondhand ones it's going to be difficult derek james
  • Score: 1

1:40pm Mon 19 May 14

userds5050 says...

joblow wrote:
I remember when this shop was in onslow road when i was younger..I hope something can be done to help out
I will pop in and buy a few books..It all helps.
When it was in Onslow road it was an alternative book shop stocking LGBT literature as well as other subcultures. The shop went more mainstream when it moved to Portswood high street. You've also got Amazon and other alternative retailers to deal with. In this business you need to diversify. They're better off looking for cheaper premises and going back to their origins.
[quote][p][bold]joblow[/bold] wrote: I remember when this shop was in onslow road when i was younger..I hope something can be done to help out I will pop in and buy a few books..It all helps.[/p][/quote]When it was in Onslow road it was an alternative book shop stocking LGBT literature as well as other subcultures. The shop went more mainstream when it moved to Portswood high street. You've also got Amazon and other alternative retailers to deal with. In this business you need to diversify. They're better off looking for cheaper premises and going back to their origins. userds5050
  • Score: 1

3:42pm Mon 19 May 14

Highfielder says...

I have no sympathy with this bookshop whatsoever. In the past when it was in Onslow Road, this 'Southampton institution' as Councillor Letts calls it, carried publications that supported the IRA and this was at a time when the IRA was actively killing innocent people in England.

Since moving to Portswood Road October Books has become, in a two university city, a crucially important centre for disseminating Palestinian propaganda, so you'd think the Palestinian Authority would show a bit of gratitude and give them a few quid to keep going.
I have no sympathy with this bookshop whatsoever. In the past when it was in Onslow Road, this 'Southampton institution' as Councillor Letts calls it, carried publications that supported the IRA and this was at a time when the IRA was actively killing innocent people in England. Since moving to Portswood Road October Books has become, in a two university city, a crucially important centre for disseminating Palestinian propaganda, so you'd think the Palestinian Authority would show a bit of gratitude and give them a few quid to keep going. Highfielder
  • Score: -14

6:25pm Mon 19 May 14

Dredjah says...

Highfielder wrote:
I have no sympathy with this bookshop whatsoever. In the past when it was in Onslow Road, this 'Southampton institution' as Councillor Letts calls it, carried publications that supported the IRA and this was at a time when the IRA was actively killing innocent people in England.

Since moving to Portswood Road October Books has become, in a two university city, a crucially important centre for disseminating Palestinian propaganda, so you'd think the Palestinian Authority would show a bit of gratitude and give them a few quid to keep going.
Any bookshop (even Amazon) will have books with a variety of political views, and I welcome it.. I'm not sure what your point has to do with anything. If you want uninterrupted pro Israeli coverage may I recommend a small little institution called the BBC...
[quote][p][bold]Highfielder[/bold] wrote: I have no sympathy with this bookshop whatsoever. In the past when it was in Onslow Road, this 'Southampton institution' as Councillor Letts calls it, carried publications that supported the IRA and this was at a time when the IRA was actively killing innocent people in England. Since moving to Portswood Road October Books has become, in a two university city, a crucially important centre for disseminating Palestinian propaganda, so you'd think the Palestinian Authority would show a bit of gratitude and give them a few quid to keep going.[/p][/quote]Any bookshop (even Amazon) will have books with a variety of political views, and I welcome it.. I'm not sure what your point has to do with anything. If you want uninterrupted pro Israeli coverage may I recommend a small little institution called the BBC... Dredjah
  • Score: 14

11:17am Wed 21 May 14

IronHead says...

I have little sympathy for them either, though not for Highfielder's reasons. As an academic who has tried to support them by giving them the asked-for reading lists, I have constantly been let down by them completely failing to stock the course books I requested. And it was not obscure stuff - they just didn't get it together. They can't bleat about losing the university's business when they're incapable of actually handling it at even the most basic level.

It's also immensely disingenuous of them to be complaining about unfair competition from John Smith's, and suggests an entirely misplaced sense of entitlement. For one thing, John Smith's is the official university on-campus bookshop, and a business that exists solely (as I understand it) as an academic bookseller. So why the hell shouldn't they get the university's business? They're set up for that purpose, and, importantly, are able to handle it, for the most part. More efficiently than October anyway. And for another thing, while they are a chain, it's not as if John Smith's isn't an independent. It's not a cooperative but it's not Waterstone's either. I'd imagine John Smith's are even smaller than Blackwell's.

October may be funky, but, sadly, fundamentally, they're not very good at what they do. If they're failing, that's the reason.
I have little sympathy for them either, though not for Highfielder's reasons. As an academic who has tried to support them by giving them the asked-for reading lists, I have constantly been let down by them completely failing to stock the course books I requested. And it was not obscure stuff - they just didn't get it together. They can't bleat about losing the university's business when they're incapable of actually handling it at even the most basic level. It's also immensely disingenuous of them to be complaining about unfair competition from John Smith's, and suggests an entirely misplaced sense of entitlement. For one thing, John Smith's is the official university on-campus bookshop, and a business that exists solely (as I understand it) as an academic bookseller. So why the hell shouldn't they get the university's business? They're set up for that purpose, and, importantly, are able to handle it, for the most part. More efficiently than October anyway. And for another thing, while they are a [very small] chain, it's not as if John Smith's isn't an independent. It's not a cooperative but it's not Waterstone's either. I'd imagine John Smith's are even smaller than Blackwell's. October may be funky, but, sadly, fundamentally, they're not very good at what they do. If they're failing, that's the reason. IronHead
  • Score: 6

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