Blackwell’s to be festival online bookseller

One of the UK’s oldest independent booksellers is to be the official online bookseller for the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.

Blackwell’s, whose flagship Oxford bookshop is one of the oldest continuously trading bookshops in the world, will add the online responsibilities to its long-held role as the official physical bookseller to the festival.

David Prescott, managing director of Blackwell’s, said: ‘Blackwell’s has enjoyed a long association with the Oxford Literary Festival and, over the years, our specialist appreciation for and understanding of books has resonated well with the thousands of people who attend the festival events. And as Blackwell’s was the first transactional bookshop online in the UK when it opened its virtual doors in 1985, we look forward to imparting that same knowledge and passion online wherever those interested in the festival may be.’

Blackwell’s has also taken on additional responsibilities for the 2014 festival, acting as the official box office as well as running the festival marquee, which acts as a central hub for visitors.

‘The festival is a massively important part of our calendar as a bookseller,’ said Prescott.  ‘It provides an important bridge between the start of the academic year, Christmas and the late Spring arrival of academic tourists and summer schools. Commercially it is very important to us as an independent bookseller. Several weeks of intensive work goes into the preparation for it and we are all gearing up for a great festival.’

Established in 1879, this year Blackwell’s turns 135 years old. In addition to meeting the needs of its customers with knowledgeable, approachable staff and the authority of its range of books, Blackwell’s is actively engaged in rolling out a new digital strategy which will meet the demands of customers for many years to come. In August 2012, Barnes & Noble and Blackwell’s announced a partnership meaning that the 60 Blackwell’s bookshops around the country would sell the range of nook e-reading devices.