Monday, 15 December 2008

An Interview with the BFI Filmstore Manager, Ian Ryan

What kind of collaboration is there between the bookshop and the British Film Institute (BFI)?

All profits made by the Filmstore go back into the BFI and the work it promotes. We get a lot of support from all the different departments. For example, the Programming and Events teams have been really good in helping promote the Filmstore by encouraging guests to either take part in signings, or by opening doors to suppliers and distributors of interesting books and films. Having access to the more independent and interesting releases allows us to stay attractive, and helps set us apart from other outlets. Another department that has played a key role in our success is education.

Can you describe some of the key differences between working directly with independent publishers compared with big multinational publishers?

To be honest for me there’s been little difference between the two. I suppose this is my chance to champion the role of the rep no matter whom they work for, be it the large multinational or the small independent. If I were to give any advice to small independent shops it would be to make sure you work with your rep, make the most of them as they have a lot to offer. In the current climate they need us as much as we need them.

What are the biggest challenges facing independent bookshops in the future?

In one word ‘Amazon’. I understand that Amazon can work on the basis of a 15% margin but it doesn’t help when a customer can buy books cheaper from Amazon than I can buy them from the publisher. In my opinion what publishers have allowed with Amazon is a complete undervaluing of their product. It’s difficult for us with all these advantages so I really feel for the small booksellers out there. It’s not all bad though – Amazon does have its ‘Achilles heel’, which is its size. It has too much to choose from. The role of a good bookshop is to siphon out the rubbish and offer the products that the customer is looking for. Also, it lacks the personal aspects that a lot of people find important.

To read this article in full, download IQ magazine from our website:

Stockholders of Intellect's books:

The BFI Filmstore:
Belvedere Road, South Bank,
Waterloo, London, SE1 8XT
T: 0207 815 1350

London Review Bookshop (LRB)
14 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL
T: 020 7269 9030

The Arnolfini (Bristol)
16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA
T: 0117 917 2304

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA):
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
T: 0207 766 1452

Our books can be ordered through all UK and European bookshops via our distributor, Gardners:

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