England is in limited lockdown as I write, and non-essential shops are closed until 2 December.  This means local booksellers will miss out on several of their busiest weeks of the year. The big online retailers will be fine, but our nearest bookshop is owned and run almost single-handedly by one man. Like many others, he’s offering a click-and-collect service, but without local support, it’s hard to see how shops like this will survive.

So, if you buy a book from an independent or High Street bookshop between now and 2 December 2020, well done! I’ll help to celebrate by sending you a signed bookplate (not an actual plate, just a slip of paper) to paste into the front. I’ll write whatever you want on it, within reason.

It’s up to individual authors to decide how they’ll make this work, and I’m proud of having come up with the most complicated system possible. In fact there are two systems, depending on where you live.

If you live in the USA, Canada or anywhere else supplied by Bloomsbury USA, all you have to do is buy a copy of one of my books from an independent bookstore by 2 December, email evidence of purchase to me at ruthdowniebookplate[at]gmail.com along with your address, and a bookplate with your choice of wording will come your way. (In case you’re wondering about privacy – I’ll be deleting the email account and all the addresses once this is over.)

If you live in the UK, Ireland, India, Australia… or basically anywhere it’s hard to find Ruso and Tilla in physical bookshops at the moment*, all you need to do is buy A BOOK of any sort in an independent bookshop by 2 December, and send your evidence of purchase, address and choice of wording to me at ruthdowniebookplate[at]gmail.com. I’ll post you a bookplate which you can either paste into one of my books which you already own, or just accept as a thank-you note for helping to keep our bookshops afloat.

UK and Irish readers can find local booksellers here.

See, I told you it was complicated! Big thanks to author Holly Bourne for coming up with this brilliant idea, and to award-winning writer and illustrator Chris Riddell for designing the bookplates.

*Most booksellers should be able to order these, and the rest will be available soon:

Terra Incognita – ISBN 978-1-9164694-1-9

Persona non Grata – ISBN 978-1-9164694-2-6

Caveat Emptor – ISBN 978-1-9164694-3-3

6 thoughts on “#SignForOurBookshops

  1. Brilliant, thank you for that Ruth. I’ll certainly be buying from Lionel at Brendon Books to help out.
    I’ll let you know.

  2. This is a terrific marketing idea Ruth. However, I have no plans to buy any books- even those written by you – but I will hang onto this jic.

    I hope you’re coping alright with the Coronavirus and the lockdown?

    I’m lucky in that Meg does the online grocery shopping. I went to the Bletchley Library last week and borrowed a dozen or more books that I hope will cover the period until they reopen. I also got a haircut which is expected to last me about 4 weeks and is, I think, the shortest my hair has been since I left school in 1965! Most of my external activities have been suspended apart from Pub Quizzes which are being run using Zoom!

    Regards to Andrew.


    1. Good to hear from you, Tony. Yes it’s a fun idea all round, I think. All fine here and so far we have avoided the virus – hope you & yours are safe & well.

  3. Could you please put this email address on your mailing list as my hotmail account is basically dead. I would love a new medicus novel Cheers Patrick ________________________________

    1. Hi Patrick!
      Thanks for this. I’d be more than happy to change your email address BUT…
      The website seems to have eaten whatever new address you put in…
      UPDATE – sorted! 🙂

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