It’s been tough year for lots of businesses, but it’s been a super rough year for the high street. That includes cafes, restaurants, non-essential shops, all those little places that make visits to cute little towns more interesting. Imagine, for example, a trip to Chester. It wouldn’t be the same without all the shops lining those lovely balconies. How would Brighton be without the Lanes? Or Bath without Milsom St? This applies to every tourist town in Britain. Yes, they will still have the ruins, or the abbey or the pretty lines of cottages. They may still have some of the shops, but not so many.

And they won’t be so interesting.

People say this pandemic has simply brought forward the inevitable. Shopping has moved online. It was going to happen anyway – it’s not worse just different. But actually it’s devastating. It’s sad not only for the retailers, but for the buildings and towns that housed those retailers. If we want to enjoy little trips and holidays to pretty towns full of interesting things, we have to buy those interesting things from the retailers occupying the bricks and mortar spaces WHILE THEY’RE STILL THERE.

Thing is, they’re closed at the moment. They don’t know when they can re-open. They don’t dare order anything because – well, they may not open again for months.

This is true of all retail – and if they have websites, you can buy on-line. If they have the stock. And it may be thin on the ground. It takes money to buy stock, and you only have money if you have sold it. Remember the Elves and Shoemaker? He can only make the shoes if he has the leather to make the shoes. But there’s a way to boost trade, if it’s a bookshop, or a record shop, you can pre-order. Pre-ordering means that the shop knows exactly what it’s going to sell, it doesn’t have to buy things on spec. It is massively helpful. It’s also massively helpful to the originator of the work, the author, the publisher, the artist, the printer.

So order and pre-order people. Any books that you think you might want to buy. Order them now, from an indie. Look them up on Amazon and if they’re only available there, then, fine, but otherwise – buy from from bricks and mortar. Shop ethically. Make an effort. It may not even cost you any more.

You can pre-order Waiting for Murder out on 1st April from The Rocketship Bookshop from The Yellow Lighted Bookshop or from Waterstones.

YA Yeah Yeah: Indie Advent: Sophie Kirtley on The Rocketship Bookshop,  Salisbury