"Jason started his career in antiquarian books, Sam started in publishing and when we met we realised we had a very similar vision. We look to carry the flag for independent bookshops."
Burley Fisher Books is a new independent bookshop in Haggerston, London; we aim to support and promote small presses, provide a space for literary events and - above all - be an asset to the local community. The shop is run by Jason Burley and Sam Fisher, who share a belief that bookshops provide a human alternative to algorithm-driven world of online retailing.
Due to the success of our current event's programme, we need a space with a larger capacity than our shop floor and have decided to renovate the basement of the shop to facilitate this. All the proceeds from the campaign will go towards creating a more professional, flexible, space with small stage, lighting and PA system. And this is where we need your help to support the resurgence in popularity of the printed word.
Jason started his first shop in Camden Lock Market 30 years ago and has has been bookselling all over London since, most recently in Old Street station, where he continues today. Sam had been working in publishing and came to work for Jason. They decided they wanted to open a shop together and both being long-time residents of Hackney, they wanted to open a shop that would become a part of the community and quickly settled on Haggerston as an ideal location.
Online retailers offer the illusion of choice whilst directing their readers to their mass market selection. Jason and Sam wanted to provide a platform for books undervalued by these retailers, as well as a meeting place where people could get together with their authors to talk about them.
So Where are we Today?
The bookshop opened in February 2016 and in just seven months, we're happy to say:
- We run at least one event a week in the shop, often selling out.
- There has been very successful engagement with local residents and already we have responsive mailing list of almost 600 and a growing number of regular returning customers.
- We have a great team, Will and Jake bring their unique and valued expertise.
- We had a very encouraging press response when we opened, with articles in The Bookseller, The Londonist, The Hackney Gazette, Hackney Citizen and a number of other publications.
- We are already being asked to supply books for events outside of the shop. Notably at Proud East and The Institute of Directors.
- Our selection of coffees, teas, local soft drinks and bagels are also very popular.
Our Basement Project
Already, the events programme has outgrown the space that we have on the ground floor of the shop. We need to expand the range of events that we are able to run, as well as the audience capacity. The basement is the ideal area to expand into, but not currently set up for public access, let alone as a dedicated events space. Our required improvements have been costed and we have the contractors ready. Once we have received the money we will be able to have everything up and running in a matter of weeks.
The new space will allow us to run film events, catered events, arts and crafts events (such as ceramics and life drawing) and the community will also be able to hire the space below our bookshop. Importantly, we will be able to run events during the day, and to keep the bookshop open while events are taking place.
A Final Word
As an independent bookshop, we are reliant on the support of the public for our success and we are so grateful for all the support we have received to far.
Get in Touch
Telephone: +44 (0)207 2492263
Facebook: Burley Fisher Books
Risks and challenges
1. Constructing the space - the basement was used as an old World War II bomb shelter, and although we have received quotations from contractors, there might be some risk that the construction work will take longer than planned due to unforseen issues with installing correct ventilation.
2. Health and Safety - We feel confident that we have anticipated any extra costs required for complying with extra health and safety regulations (such as adding a fire door at the bottom of the stairs) but we will need to validate this.
3. Contractor time - Although we have consulted contractors, we have not been able to book their time without being able to guarantee funds and so their may be some delays to the timelines due to contractor availability.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)