22 May 2007

G is For....Geography in Bookshops

It does not stop with Bookshops John has created a letter for libraries here

Follow the progress of this sub campaign on the sln thread (thanks Kate)

In your local bookshop take a look around, do they have a Geography section? If so , what types of books does it include? How long is the section? Are the Geography books in a section called “Geography”?

Action Committee member John Tomlinson has introduced me to this issue and so I went down to my local bookshop (a well know chain) and as John suggested not a Geography section in sight. When I asked where the Geography books were located I was directed towards the “Travel” section, and then onto a shelve of OS maps.

It is not only important that Geography is labelled as a section by Bookshops, its lack of acknowledgement has wider consequences for public awareness of the importance of the subject. Some of the key issues we face now and into the future are Geographical in nature, however are not called so.

Geographers lets do something about it…

Visit your local bookshop(s) before Friday 1st June and complete a quick survey:

    1. Does the shop have a Geography section?
    2. If so, is it called a Geography section?
    3. Are their Geography books within this section?
    4. How long (if they have one) is this section?

On Monday 4th June if you are not happy with the Geography focus of the bookshop:

Print off and send them this letter, (Scottish version here) or even send by fax or email. You can adapt the letter in anyway you see fit.

Make sure you send a copy to your local paper also

Any Bookshops that you were impressed with in terms of their “Geography ” section please email me adtastic2001@yahoo.co.uk with the details and I will contact them directly.

Please visit as many bookshops as you can. Take photographs if you like and pretty much do anything to Give Geography its Place.

Some well known Bookshop's contact information here:

Waterstones including Ottakars


WH Smiths







GeoDave said...

Great idea - I will check out my local bookshops in Maidstone, Kent

Author said...

I am going to do a few this Saturday! In Hastings, Sussex.

Daniel Raven-Ellison said...

I went to my first bookshop today, a small independently run Family Bookshop. They had about 50 books within a section labelled 'Geography' that was for children... really these were just reference books.

About 1/5 of the shop was given over to travel books, otherwise geography was mixed into current affairs, natural history and history.

I spoke to the owner who actually served in the forces making maps. From his point of view he would have a section called 'environmental issues' or somthing along those lines but never 'Geography'. The reason he gave was simple 'geograpy does not sell, people just think of text books'.

The attitude in this small suburban bookshop is exactly the same as that of the larger media organisations "We'll have geography, we love geography but shhhh! don't tell anyone...".

As with the media, bookshops need to be given reason and the ideas on a plate.

I can't help but feel an 'Understand your world...' approach could be good... of course the way to do this is through geography. Could GGiP come up with a list of top books along these lines maybe?

Daniel Raven-Ellison said...

Borders Newbury has Geography books in several sections from 'Mysterious World' and Earth Science to Travel and History.

I met a very helpful guy who helped to do a search on the Borders system for 'Geography'. While there was loads of text books and a few childrens arm-chair traveller books, after that the subject died.

We both walked around and noted the wealth of fantastic geography books that are inspiring yet not near anything the public would recognise as geography.

I have been given a number at head office to call (they are getting back to me) but the good(ish) news is that there is a possibility of either a geography table or end stand (possibly)... watch this space.

Tomorrow is the town library.

John Tomlinson said...

Hi. Lancashire County Libraries have sent me a two page reply. They do have sections labelled Geography in some libraries but they dont sya which ones. They advise primary schools to have a section in their libraries called Geography and Travel. Their argument is that Geography is too big a classification anw would require too many shelves for a wide range of books. MMM doesnt stop them using the label History though!

John T