Welcome to the Five Leaves Bookshop
Online Events: Special Offer!
Our online events programme is taking shape – keep an eye on our events page for details. We have two special offers for you, valid until the end of the month after each event:
For the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature online events, you can buy any three books by the featured authors for the price of two (cheapest free).
For our bookshop online events, you can buy any book by the featured authors at 10% discount.
Either email firstname.lastname@example.org with your order, or visit the shop when we reopen!
Coronavirus / Covid-19 information – Update
10am-5pm Monday to Saturday
Four customers only at once please. Compulsory hand sanitising on entry. Please maintain two metres distancing, no matter what changes the government makes.
We’d love to see you…though not all at once!
And you do have to wear a mask. One of those blue ones is fine…
We are continuing to offer mail order . We can order pretty much anything in print, in it’s not already in stock, although some publishers’ warehouses continue to be slower than usual whilst working safely, so bear with us. Mail order is post free (UK) until the end of August.
We also offer mystery boxes of £50 or £100 of books. You give us a brief, or any exclusions, and we’ll send you a box of books of our choice. And we’ll add in a bit more as you are bound to already have one or two! It’s fun, and it’s reading and it’s trading. We are not looking for donations by stealth. If you have any spare cash donate it to your local food bank! We’ve done many of these boxes already. We can send them as presents too, including a card.
Email in to email@example.com and we’ll do the rest, letting you know payment options.
How we are working
We have done full risk assessments and have revised our working practices to ensure our safety and that of our customers. Staff work in separate areas, with full cleaning of surfaces and equipment at lunch breaks and till is behind a screen. We have masks and visors and will use them when on the shop floor. We will avoid mingling with you on the shop floor, shelving newly arrived books after hours. Our wholesaler, Gardners, is also operating safely, with reduced staffing to allow distancing and with workers wearing PPE. Our trade association, the Booksellers Association, is very happy with them. We have seen videos of their premises and the owners and manager spend a lot of time working on the warehouse floor too!
It will all take time to get used to but we always err on the side of caution no matter what the official rules!
Thanks for bearing with us!
One of the few independents to open in any UK city centre this century! Find us opposite Nottingham Tourism centre – see map on the right.
Located in the centre of Nottingham, we specialise in:
Cityscape and Landscape, Politics, Fiction and Poetry,
Lesbian and Gay, Counterculture, International writing, and Magazines and Journals.
Five Leaves Bookshop set up a national Feminist Book Fortnight for 2018, which included many writers, publishers and about fifty independent bookshops in Britain, Ireland and Italy. In 2019 the Fortnight ran from 4-18 May and has its own website https://feministbookfortnight.wordpress.com/ In 2020 Feminist Book Fortnight has a small handful of online events only due to the Covid-19 crisis but will return in 2021.
We have been regional finalists for the British Book Awards, Independent Bookshop of the Year five years in a row, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. In 2018 Five Leaves won the national final, and was the British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the Year. In 2019 we won the Midlands section.
In 2019 we won a Nottingham Rainbow Heritage Award for our support for LGBT+ communities in the city.
If there was any doubt that Five Leaves is a radical bookshop it was dispelled the day after the 2015 General Election when a stream of Labour voters, Greens and assorted lefties drifted into the shop seeking comfort after the storm. We found ourselves providing an open therapy group for the forlorn (as we were ourselves). We printed up some badges – Don’t Blame Me, I Voted Labour/Green/I’m an Anarchist, as well as a set carrying the Joe Hill slogan, Don’t Mourn, Organise… This happened again after the Brexit vote and again after the American Presidential election! But not after the 2017 election… In 2019, well…
But how can a political bookshop survive on the high street? We were, in November 2013, the first independent of any description to open in a city centre this century, and there are not many radical bookshops around. Like any good independent, we prioritise customer service – we offer next day supply for most UK books and one or two weeks for most books from the USA. Overall, our stock might be different to most other independents but some months our best-sellers are those that also appear on the best-sellers lists generally. We make sure that there is enough choice for anyone coming into the shop, regardless of their views. We have one very regular customer, for example, who only buys books on Buddhism. Others head straight for our cityscape and landscape sections and quite a few other regulars never get further than poetry. Poetry is important to us, not least as it is a strong interest of two members of staff, and we regularly put on readings.
But in any case, radical books do shift – whether they be academic, polemic or historical. Many of our customers, however, come for the specialist areas of the shop – Autism, Travellers/Roma, Anarchism, Jewish interest (our best selling magazine is Jewish Socialist!), Transgender, Black History… We might not stock celebrity biographies but for some of our customers it is more important that 25% of our fiction is in translation, with its own dedicated section. And in 2017 several hundred people came to Nottingham’s first radical bookfair which we now hold annually.
Five Leaves Bookshop works with dozens of local community groups including trade unions, the Quakers, Nottingham Irish Studies Group, Nottingham Women’s History and various departments at our two local universities. We run an events programme with at least one meeting in the shop every week. Our own mini-Festival, Bread and Roses, attracted 850 people in its first outing, with packed events for Owen Jones, Natalie Bennett (leader of the Green Party) and cult-writer Iain Sinclair. In 2017 Iain Sinclair returned, and other guests included George Monbiot, and Shami Chakrabarti. The week also included a theatre show on Paul Robeson. All in all, over 5,000 people attend our events each year.
With six full years and seven Christmasses under our belt we are moving forward steadily – steadily enough have paid the staff the Living Wage since just after the shop opened. Nobody in the booktrade should earn less than the cost of a standard paperback novel.
The bookshop grew out of the longstanding Five Leaves Publications, which has been publishing literary, social history and political books since 1995. One of our staff wrote the bid for Nottingham to become a UNESCO City of Literature. We published a 5,000 print run book of commissioned stories by local writers including John Harvey, Alison Moore and Paula Rawsthorne as part of a literature development project in the city run jointly with Nottingham Writers’ Studio and Bromley House Library, in support of the bid.
If there was ever a time when independent bookshops simply waited for customers to show up we feel that is long gone. We work hard to involve and be involved with as many groups in the city as we can. And not just in the city – from its previous publishing base and now from the bookshop we work with the Leicester Centre for Creative Writing to run the annual States of Independence celebration of independent publishing. Five Leaves also set up the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing and, with Housmans Bookshop in London, initiated the London Radical Bookfair. In 2016 – as well as events at Lowdham Book Festival and States of Independence we ran 63 bookshop events and set up our own reading group. in 2017 there were 88 events. And in 2018 we launched Feminist Book Fortnight nationally. Last year we had around 100 events.
City centre rents make it difficult for any small businesses to survive. Fortunately our city has many alleyways and cut-throughs which provide spaces for “destination” shops. Five Leaves could not be more central to Nottingham. We are one minute from the city’s main square and City Council offices and happily occupy an alleyway which once included the headquarters of the Universal Suffrage Association.
Nottingham is a multi-cultural city and many of our customers are new to the city, joining those who have long been involved in the local literature or political scenes. We’ve doubled the stock since opening. We are doing fine.
Nottingham is increasingly seeing itself as a “rebel city”. In literature terms we draw on the tradition of DH Lawrence, Lord Byron and Alan Sillitoe. The first radical bookshop in the city was opened in 1826 by one Susannah Wright and there were several others in our local history. Nottingham’s radical bookshop tradition lives on!
In 2017 we published Exploring Nottinghamshire Writers and were pleased to find that our local writing history has a long history of dissent, particularly with women writers. Our local and national publishing programme continues. See our publications website on www.fiveleaves.co.uk
We also stock:
A wide variety of greetings cards and post cards, Book Tokens and our own Bookshop vouchers.
Leading up to Christmas we sell Radical Tea Towels, mugs, the odd set of owls and a flock of literary ducks (or whatever is in this year), diaries, calendars, left wing bric-a-brac.
We have many events planned in the shop over the next few months. Please check the events section for regular updates. Currently all our events are online.
We can order any book in print, Most books arrive within 24-48 hours. Books can be ordered in the shop, by phone or by email with payment only on collection. Orders from the USA take a few days longer.
We offer 15% discount to book groups ordering four or more of a title, collected together or individually. Such orders can be monthly or occasionally. We welcome visit buys or more regular orders from institutions.
We can provide bookstalls at conferences and events, not just in Nottingham.
Five Leaves is also a publisher – see our list at www.fiveleaves.co.uk.
Working at Five Leaves
There are currently no staff vacancies, and we do not anticipate any vacancies in the near future. Unfortunately we are not able to offer opportunities for work experience or internships.
Stocking your book(s) We welcome approaches from publishers, but rarely stock self-published material. Approaches should be by email, please.
We are Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0115 8373097. Our data protection officer is Jane Anger. We collect your personal data to help us order/deliver your purchases. We use your data to fulfil a contract with you or to send you information when you sign up for our mailing list or social media postings. No information is shared with outside parties. We collect customer names and contact details with your consent when we order books for you or when you sign up for our mailings. You have a right to see any information held about you, and to withdraw consent for us to hold this information by, for example, asking to unsubscribe from our mailing list.
“Five Leaves independent bookshop… is a must-visit destination” The Independent
“…the wonderful, idiosyncratic new Five Leaves Bookshop” New Walk Magazine
“Notts TUC’s bookshop of choice” Nottinghamshire Trades Union Council
“You ain’t gonna find a d-list celeb biog here. Book your ideas up. ” LeftLion
“A commie bookshop that likes poetry” – in truth this was a completely misheard comment about the shop by a customer, but we are rather fond of it