Co-operative community bookshop October Books is looking for new
premises to rent or buy because it says it cannot afford a rent increase
at its current Portswood location.
Picture by Oliver Dean, from October Books' Social Saturday Mapjam
The business’s current tenancy agreement sees an increase in rent to £30,000 per annum in May 2018, which it says it will struggle to afford.
The cooperative team have made the decision to serve their notice on their Portswood Road shop and are now looking for other suitable premises in the same area.
“October Books has been struggling to afford the rent in our current location for a number of years and we realised we needed more affordable premises to continue to trade and serve the local community,” said Clare Diaper, one of the cooperative members.
“It would really turn things around if our rental payments were paying off a loan or mortgage so that we could own a property, especially if we were doing this in collaboration with other groups, creating a community hub where people can come to share, cooperate and communicate new ideas.
“Wherever we relocate, October Books will continue trading, and we aim to be around for another 40 years,” she said.
October Books is Southampton’s only independent bookshop and has been selling books and providing information, support and literature to the community for over 40 years.
It also stocks a wide range of gift cards, and foods for people on vegetarian, vegan and gluten free diets.
Possibility of purchasing
The team had expressed an interest in another local property, but lost out to another party. They are now looking at the possibilities of purchasing, and say they will be viewing the old NatWest bank on Portswood Road, which closed in October.
They are looking for other interested groups and organisations which may like to share the responsibility and the costs of community ownership of a property.
The shop is run as a cooperative and a new team took over the reins in July 2016 when long-term cooperative member Ian Lamming, pictured below, retired. The new team of (L-R) Joey Jones, Jaquie Daniels, Clare Diaper and Jess Haynes have been supported by Annabel Hodgson who has been involved in the cooperative since it started in 1987.
“October Books plays an important part in the community as one of Southampton's oldest Cooperatives. Independent book shops are a fabulous resource, championing great books and bringing local perspectives and these are things we do not want to lose from our city”, she said.
If you are interested in possibly sharing a premises with October Books, have any thoughts and ideas about potential new premises or can offer advice or help with anything from PAT testing to proposal writing, cleaning to community development, business planning to admin, please write to
“This is going to be a cooperative effort,” said Clare.