[SATURDAY 5TH JULY 2014] IBW Bookshop Crawl

My mission, of which I chose to accept, was to locate my local Independent Bookshops to collect a secret sticker that would allow access to the Bookshop Crawl, hosted to gain awareness and celebrate our amazing and fantastic Local Independent Bookshops.

A new 2014 event, the IBW Bookshop Crawl allows Bloggers and Booktubers alongside anyone else who would like to join, to hunt down as many Independent Bookshops they can in their local area and form a unique and individual post or video, to be in with a chance of winning the complete Adult and Children's IBW Book Award shortlist, National Book Tokens worth £50, and a digital banner designed specifically for the winner. The post/video must contain:
  1. The number of bookshops visited, detailed in the post and proved by video evidence or selfies with the bookshop.
  2. The quality of blog post submitted (giving all participants an equal chance of winning, regardless of how many bookshops are in your area).

On the Friday 16th May 2014 at 18:46:27 I received a coded message alerting me to the IBW Bookshop Crawl from which I began to form my plans. (Please do excuse my awful artistic skills!)

1)   Base/Home: Agent Moonlight and Agent M. Moonlight left the Base at 08:40:56 on Saturday 5th July 2014 to embark on a mission to investigate our local Independent Bookshops. However, at 09:00:43 we arrived at the woods, dark and towering they left a blanket of leaves upon the floor (987 leaves per square metre) which went "Crunch! Crunch!" (Sound recording stored in file: 'Evidence'). Not exactly stealthy. Though here, we met the The Guardians from Noble Conflict (Allies #769, #625, #792), to whom we greeted with a basketful of IBW Book Award shortlisted books. They, as bargained and agreed to, showed us through the woods to our first stop, Bookshop 1 (Palant House Gallery Bookshop).

2)   We arrived at Bookshop 1 (Palant House Gallery Bookshopat 09:45:23, on Saturday 5th July 2014 where we spoke to Suspect #1 and Suspect #2 (Mildred and Miss Hardbroom from The Worst Witch and Wishing Star) about the whereabouts of the lost IBW Bookshop Crawl stickers. After much interrogation (total time of 11 minutes 36 seconds, recording stored in file: 'Evidence') we located one sticker within the pages of Half Bad by Sally Green (suspects were released after further questioning because of innocence; authorised by Agent Moonlight). When the place was cleared and thoroughly searched, they carried on the mission with the IBW Bookshop Crawl sticker in forensics.

3)   We arrived at Bookshop 2 (St Olav Trust Christian Bookshop) at 11:26:04 where we greeted Suspect #3 (Mila from Picture Me Gone). Interrogation began (total time of 5 minutes 27 seconds, recording stored in file: 'Evidence') where the suspect was found innocent and incredibly helpful in the search for a second IBW Bookshop Crawl sticker. It was soon located (at 12:03:01) inside the pages of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. We left at 12:20:39 having sent the second IBW Bookshop Crawl sticker to forensics.

4)   We arrived on the North side of the river at 12:26:04 on Saturday 5th July 2014 where we faced a flaw, we had to get over the river to Bookshop 3 (Kim's Bookshop). Here we recruited Nathan (from Half Bad) with his Witch powers of both Good and Bad. Using his powers, we were propelled across the river (calculated estimate of 257mph) and he was rewarded with a copy of More Than This by Patrick Ness.

5)   We arrived at Bookshop 3 (Kim's Bookshop) at 13:05:16 where we received the help of 'Detective' Timmy Failure (from Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis) and after much discussion, the third IBW Bookshop Crawl sticker was located swiftly and sent directly to forensics at 13:42:23.

6)   Leaving at 14:01:39, we caught the bus back to base (total of 9 passengers), and departed the bus at 14:36:59 (total of 5 passengers). Report written at 14:52:22, Saturday 5th July 2014.

Every bookshop had their own unique qualities, Palant House Gallery Bookshop was a beautifully modern bookshop that truly burst with colour! Being within a Gallery was a strong and interesting point, but I enjoyed browsing through books with topics and focuses that I would never usually take a look at (art books, and as you can tell from by drawing above, I am not brilliant!). It had a sophisticated feel, with lovely bookmarks and decorations, it was wonderfully inviting bookshop.

Pictures taken of the outside of both two of the Independent bookshops visited, with the image of the other Independent bookshop located above:

Kim's Bookshop was petite, however the row upon row of bookcases gave a lovely comforting feel as you browsed. The colours were calm and collected and you felt completely at ease to pick up a book and sit and read in the corner!

St Olav Trust Christian Bookshop was built inside an old church! With its stonewalls and exterior it was full of character. It had a tall ceiling of the stonewalls and truly provided history and intrigue to the bookshop. All you did for a while was marvel at its looks; it had a beautiful window allowing light to shine on the books as you browsed.

Agent Moonlight and Agent M. Moonlight can conclude that even though there were only three Independent Bookshops in our area, it was interesting to learn more about them and explore the type of novels they sell. We found, when we asked customers of chain bookshops, that they assumed the books sold in Independent bookshops were "considerably more expensive". However, in fact, some of the books sold in our Independent bookshops are CHEAPER than those in our chain bookshops.

Both Agent Moonlight and Agent M. Moonlight were pleased with their mission on Saturday 5th July 2014 as they visited three Independent bookshops, two being Independent Bookshops they had never known about before!

We felt the IBW Bookshop Crawl was a unique and rewarding event of which truly announced the importance of our local independent bookshops. We found they all had a distinct personality and, through our research (an example of one of the online articles read was from the The New York Times, which we found interesting to read about), understand how strong and driven the owners of independent bookshops are with their large competition from chain bookshops.

Like many participants in this wonderful event, we have been inspired to visit and support our local independent bookshops more often (my purchases will be shown in my book haul next week as they are a surprise!) with their beautiful displays and unique selling points. We are thoroughly looking forward to the event in 2015!

Mission filed and completed on Saturday 5th July 2014 (Independent Bookshop Crawl) at 19:27:27.

(Whilst participating in the IBW Bookshop Crawl, all independent Bookshops of which we went to, that were taking part in the IBW Bookshop Crawl, did not receive any stickers to hand out to participants (I have spoken to others who also found this at their participating Independent Bookshops). The template located (http://independentbooksellersweek.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/snail-image.png) was used only for the purpose and idea of the post as they were not received by the Independent Bookshops taking part in the Independent Bookshop Crawl.)

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