Best-selling authors including Julia Donaldson and Joanne Harris vow to promote independent bookshops


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Top-selling authors including The Gruffalo writer Julia Donaldson, Joanne Harris and Kate Morton are planning on altering their websites to link to independent bookshops following complaints that they only promote Amazon and chain retailers.

The changes follow claims by an independent bookshop owner in The Bookseller that best-selling writers support the likes of W H Smith and Waterstones “without giving a fig” for struggling smaller shops.

Keith Smith, of Warwick and Kenilworth Books, said Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Alison Weir, Ian Rankin, Tom Holland and Patrick Ness are among those who have ignored independent retailers.

“Many of these are authors who, when asked, will say they couldn’t imagine life without their local bookshop,” he said. “But words need to be matched by deeds if they are to make a difference.”

Julia Donaldson said she had been “feeling guilty” about not having links to independent shops, but added that, “when I first set up my website, this is what was suggested to me would be the easiest thing to do.” Her “online presence” is now under review, according to her publisher.

Ian Rankin’s publisher Orion is currently working on the author’s website, while Transworld author Joanne Harris will soon display “information about all retailers”. Kate Morton offers links to independents in the US and Australia and is looking to do the same for the UK.

However, historian Alison Weir hit back, saying: “I’m not sure how Keith Smith envisages linking to every independent bookseller in a practical way - how many must there be?

“If you look on my website you will see links to other websites whose owners requested a link. Linking to Amazon does not mean that I do not support independents.

“Authors do have a living to make and Amazon can provide a great source of income which, sadly, independent book shops could not possibly meet.”