After the flood

The Book Case in Hebden Bridge has news.

As most people reading this will know, The Book Case in Hebden Bridge was destroyed by the major flooding in the Calder Valley on Boxing Day. Despite flood resilience measures taken after the last flood in 2012 we were completely wiped out as the water came through at over 5ft, nearly 2ft over the highest we had planned for. Like nearly all businesses in the town we were uninsurable against flooding.

We have just had the fantastic news that we will be receiving a £5000 grant from the James Patterson fund. Our enormous thanks to Meryl Halls at the Booksellers Association for organising this for us, and to the grant fund who are arranging this to be paid speedily and with minimal paperwork. And of course to the great man, James Patterson himself!

We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received since Boxing Day from all sections of the book trade. In the first few days after the flood much of Hebden Bridge was left without phone signal, power or internet. While we felt cut off from the outside world, Kevin Duffy from independent publisher Bluemoose Books together with Calder Valley based writers, Stephen May, Ben Myers and Melvin Burgess (who also spent hours shovelling wet books for us on the first day) began to rally the book trade to our support.

Meanwhile Sarah Corbett (another wet book shoveller) who organised our Poetry Nights, contacted poets who head read at the shop for donations.

When Sam Missingham from Harper Collins and crime writing duo R C Bridgestock (Carol and Bob to their friends) heard about what had happened it made a huge difference. Despite not ever having had direct contact with them they turned their awe inspiring organisational talents to our rescue and used their contacts and position in the industry to get big name authors involved in a signed book auction to raise money for us.

And we have had so many wonderful personal messages of support from readers, writers, booksellers, publishers, in fact book lovers of all kinds! Here’s one lovely example – yesterday we received an anonymous package from Amazon containing 6 rolls of commercial absorbent paper towel, just addressed to ‘the people saving books at The Book Case’.

The fact that so many people, from all areas of the book trade, have rallied round to help us means so much. I admit that in the past, reading some of the articles in the Bookseller for example, I’ve not really felt connected to the more corporate world of publishing. In fact as a small northern bookseller I’ve sometimes felt invisible in the industry.

The last week it has felt genuinely felt that we are part of a real community, that publishers do care about independent bookshops and understand their value. We are important; to the book trade, to authors, readers and to the wider communities we exist in. The amazing support we have had is a huge reminder of this and made us even more determined to survive this.

Finally a list of publishers who have come to our support, apologies to anyone we have left off this list, there are still boxes to open and messages that may not have got through. Just remind me so I can add you x

Literary Gift Company
Harper Collins
Thames and Hudson
Rough Trade
Tangerine Press
Galley Beggar
David Fickling Books
Country Publications
Dean Street Press
Chicken House
Anderson Press
Longbarrow Press
Independent Alliance
River Ocean
Head of Zeus
Wrecking Ball Press
4th Estate

With our most heartfelt thanks
Kate Claughan and all at The Book Case

H/t Maureen Brian.

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