Comma Press and Housmans Bookshop’s success with event in support of Radical publishing and booksellers

In February 2021, Housmans Bookshop and Comma Press hosted two online events with renowned British actors Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake reading from protest-inspired stories published in Comma’s History-into-Fiction anthology, Protest: Stories of Resistance.

The two events took place on the 9th and 10th February and were followed by conversations between two of the books’ authors, Martyn Bedford and Maggie Gee, and historians Sally Alexander and David Waddington.

 

191 tickets were sold and 140 viewers tuned in to watch Christopher Eccleston’s reading, and 330 tickets were sold and 250 viewers tuned in to the event with Maxine Peake, making £963 in ticket sales and £1662 in gross book sales.

 

At a time when the UK’s ongoing lockdown is having a devastating impact on independent bookselling and publishing, such figures are cause for celebration and hope for the future of radical literature.

 

Cristina Ríos, co-manager of Housmans Bookshop, said “We were really honoured to have Christopher and Maxine, two fantastic British actors, donate their time and talent to raise the profile of Housmans and by extension that of radical bookselling and publishing at such a tricky time. We have had enthusiastic feedback from the audience and are pleased to have many new customers who discovered Housmans and its long history as a radical bookshop through these events. The proceeds from ticket and book sales also gave the shop a very welcome boost. This event is just another example of how indie publishers and bookshops can come together to support one another during tough times. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Comma Press yet again and we look forward to many more joint projects in the future.”

Becca Parkinson, Engagement Manager at Comma Press, said “We are incredibly grateful to our patron Maxine Peake, Christopher Eccleston, our authors Martyn Bedford and Maggie Gee and their historical consultants Sally Alexander and David Waddington, for giving up their precious time to take part in this event and making it such a huge success. We feel it is absolutely essential to the publishing ecosystem that indie presses and bookshops support each other. Housmans have always been a huge supporter of our titles and events, and so we wanted to work with them to organise an event that would give the shop a much-needed boost at a tricky time for them and other indie bookshops who've had to close their doors due to the ongoing pandemic. It's been great to see such enthusiasm too for our Protest anthology, which was first published back in 2017, but thanks to these events has come to the attention of new readers.”

 

Christopher Eccleston’s event will be available for free playback on the Housmans Bookshop YouTube channel from the 27th February, and his reading will be available from the 1st March. Maxine Peake’s event will be available from the 2nd March and her reading from the 3rd March.

 

Read the story at The Bookseller.

 

Read the story at BookBrunch.