25/04/2019 28/04/2019
Warsaw

Read all about it! Small bookstores hit back at online giants with Independent Bookshop Weekend

Spread over four days, the programme is packed with book readings, lectures and creative workshops. Warszawskie Księgarnie Kameralne/Facebook

Book-lovers in Warsaw are in for a treat this week, as the city gears up for Independent Bookshop Weekend.

Now in its fourth year, the weekend will celebrate not just books themselves, but also the small bookshops that sell them.

One of the highlights of the weekend is meeting authors, such as Iga Zakrzewska-Morawek.Warszawskie Księgarnie Kameralne/Facebook

With the rise of online bookshops and other selling platforms, some offering steep discounts, more Poles are buying books on the web. According to a report on “E-commence in Poland 2018” by Gemius, the most common items bought by Poles online include books, along with clothes and cosmetics.

Amid this strong competition, small bookshops in Poland have found themselves trying to attract customers by emphasising other perks, from advice from knowledgeable booksellers to meetings with authors. Some offer café areas where shoppers can browse books over coffee or tea.

With the rise of online bookshops and other selling platforms, some offering steep discounts, smaller, traditional bookstores are finding it harder to compete.Alfons Morales on UnsplashThirty independent bookshops in Warsaw will be involved in this year’s weekend. Dotted around the city, they range from the art bookshop in the Zachęta National Gallery of Art to Wrzenie Świata, a bookshop-café specialising in reportage, and from Tajfuny, which sells Asian literature in translation, to the brightly coloured Księgarnia Dwie Siostry, a treasure trove of children’s books. Several sellers of antique books will participate, too.   

Some stores offer café areas where shoppers can browse books over coffee or tea.Ryan Jacobson on Unsplash

Spread over four days, the programme is packed with book readings, lectures and creative workshops, including activities for children. At a writers’ workshop for adults at bookshop café Tarabuk, participants will learn how to create heroes, while Tajfuny will host a session on how to write haikus.

Other attractions for bookworms include talks and workshops.Warszawskie Księgarnie Kameralne/Facebook

Some of the events will focus on the more technical aspects of publishing, like a panel discussion at Faktyczny Dom Kultury on the “role of the editor in the process of creating a book”. The results of a translation competition organised by the Association of Literary Translators will also be announced at an event during the weekend.

The Weekend, which runs from 25 to 28 April, received financial support from the city of Warsaw. Entrance to all the events is free.