Newcastle NSW, Australia...
I started Shelflife Books and Zines in December 2019 as a pop-up inside my friend’s beer and record shop, Pop’n’Hops. My aim for the shop has always been to make space for marginalised voices, stocking books from independent, micro-/self-publishers and filling the shelves with queer, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, feminist books with an emphasis on bolstering communities and sharing information.
Having worked as a bookseller in a large chain, I had a rough of idea of what I didn’t want to do, so the first step was working out how to put my pipedream bookshop into practice. With Cardiff’s legacy of radical bookshops, and the fact that there are currently no other (new book, non-chain) independent bookshop in the city centre, it seemed like the time was right for a new independent bookshop in Cardiff. So, even though the Covid pandemic threw a major curveball, in August 2020 I opened the new Shelflife Books and Zines shop in The Castle Emporium, with the help of an IndieGoGo fundraiser, the support of our lovely TCE neighbours and lots of crossed fingers.
The response to the shop so far has been incredible! Cardiff’s (and beyond!) bookfans have shown a enormous amount of love and support for the shop and I’m so incredibly grateful. Like most booklovers, running a bookshop is a dream job so to be able to make it happen with so much kindness and encouragement is just wild! Of course, it’s a steep learning curve, I’ve never run a bookshop before so there are going to be some bumps along the way but with some luck and lots of hard work, the shop can grow into a useful, reliable community resource with enough space for events, local group meetings and lots of zine workshops. So… watch this space!
Love and solidarity forever,