By the People, for the People: Community Bookshops and Sustainable Business

Hannah Smith


This article analyses and discusses community bookshops as a viable commercial enterprise, by investigating the methods by which individual shops successfully balance a sustainable financial model with their prioritisation of social values. It uses secondary sources to conduct historical and contextual research, which is then synthesised with its primary research in the form of interviews and business model analysis. The article concludes that, by focusing on the needs of their local community, these bookshops are able to elevate the value of their business and products at a time when traditional retail outlets are struggling to retain customers. As beacons of social responsibility these businesses focus on collaboration and cohesion, along with developing the literacy of their local areas. Through their unique knowledge of their local community, and their community-ownership models, these bookshops display how economic function and social objectives can work hand in hand to create a sustainable and responsible business model.

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