Hastings independent bookshop thriving despite launching days before lockdown

A new independent bookshop in Hastings is doing well despite being hit by lockdown just a few days after opening.

Charlie Crabb had the idea of opening The Hastings Bookshop when he was furloughed from Waterstones.

It opened in Trinity Street on November 1 but then had to close almost immediately due to lockdown.

But the shop is thriving since being able to re-open on April 12.

Hastings Bookshop Charlie Crabb SUS-210420-125315001

Now it has been chosen as one of 12 independent bookshops in the UK to act as ‘champions’ for the Jhalak Prize - a national competition for the best book by a writer of colour.

Charlie explained: I decided to open The Hastings Bookshop last summer. I had been working as a bookseller for the past seven years, both at Waterstones in Hastings and at The Riverside Bookshop near London Bridge.

“During the first lockdown, when I was furloughed from Waterstones, I noticed that small independent bookshops across the country were doing really well, compared to the chain bookshops - where things weren’t looking so good.

“I knew then that the future of bookselling in these uncertain times was going to rely on being able to adapt and change as necessary.

Hastings Bookshop SUS-210420-132641001

“So, when we decided to open the bookshop on Trinity Street we were prepared for the possibility of another lockdown. We opened on the 1st of November, and a few days later did indeed go into another lockdown.

“Throughout all the subsequent lockdowns and restrictions we have managed to thrive by offering click and collect and local delivery services. We have also sold books nationally and internationally via our website.

“Of course, nothing beats browsing in a bookshop, but during lockdowns people generally have more time to read and that has contributed to a national trend in the increase of book sales.

“We opened again for browsing on Monday April 12 and have had a very busy and successful week. It has been brilliant to have customers back into the shop and get to talk about books with people.

Catherine Johnson SUS-210420-125329001

“We have lots of exciting things on the horizon, including a collaboration with the local award winning author Catherine Johnson, who wrote the young adult book Queen of Freedom, and The Jhalak Prize, events for Independent Bookshop Week (19th - 26th June), as well as a series of talks and readings that will be happening at the shop in July.

“We are also beginning to plan for the first year of ‘The Hastings Bookshop Poetry Festival’ in August. More details on these events and more will be announced soon.”

The Hastings Bookshop is based at 5 Trinity Street, in Trinity Triangle. Visit www.hastingsbookshop.co.uk.