Independent booksellers are used to pundits speaking unasked on their behalf, but this year has seen an unusual surge of concern. In a recent survey, The Guardian took the unprecedented step of actually talking to some of us. Lately there’s been a lot of hype about the so-called Independent Alliance between a group of independent publishers, which Andrew Franklin, an Alliance publisher (Profile), describes as a ‘small but highly significant and controversial change’ that ‘could save small booksellers’, who (according to an article in The Bookseller) face ‘extinction within fifteen years’.
The aim of the Independent Alliance is ‘to provide a range of benefits that will enable you to forcefully [sic] promote your business, with greater access to the kind of support the chains take for granted’. More specifically, an increased discount is offered on selected titles so that independents can