Call for papers – Bookshops: Online and On the High Street

The 2nd Annual Bookselling Research Network Conference, in association with the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing will be held on the 3rd-4th July 2023 at the University of Reading, UK.

Jeff Deutsch, in his recent In Praise of Good Bookstores, reflected that because “we no longer need bookstores to buy books…bookstores might well be an inefficient and inconvenient way to buy books in the twenty-first century.” Yet, as he goes on to show, and the industry seems to confirm, “good bookstores” are evident everywhere. The second annual Bookselling Research Network conference looks to discuss both the impact of bookshops in an era of online retailing and how booksellers, the book trade, and book-reading communities use online environments to return people back to the bookshop – wherever in the world these might be. What are the affordances, pitfalls, and challenges of bookselling in a digital era? What innovative, unique, or era-defying practices are evident and thriving? How have changes in bookselling affected literary production and reception? What cultural or political concerns remain prevalent for booksellers? What does it mean to operate a bookshop today?

We welcome proposals from academics, booksellers, and other members of the book trade which address such questions or consider any of the following topics:

  • Physical bookselling in a digital era
  • The role of social media in bookselling (Instagram, BookTok, GoodReads)
  • Bibliodiversity and the book trade
  • Personal perspectives from booksellers and other members of the book trade
  • Multi-media and other forms of bookshop sales
  • Bookshops and communities
  • Bookshops as publishers/printers
  • International and Regional Bookselling Perspectives
  • Bookseller Training
  • Beyond bookshops – from street stalls to supermarkets

This conference will be hosted at the University of Reading in association with the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing, 3-4 July 2023. This event will be held in-person but we will also make remote participation possible.

Please submit a short bio and a 250-word proposal for a short presentation to: no later than 01 March 2023. Feel free to also contact us with any questions.