Tag Archives: bookshops

And so begins the biggest ever promotion of bookshops: Books Are My Bag!

Saturday 14th September marks one of the biggest promotions of bookshops in bookselling history. Books Are My Bag played a prominent presence at this year’s London Book Fair in April where the hype to yesterday’s launch began.

Photo from HarperCollins' website

Photo from HarperCollins’ website

The campaign is to celebrate bookshops across the country and to encourage people to support their local bookshop; whether it be a small independent or one of the national chains. Statistics on the BAMB website shows that ‘56% of all book buying decisions are in fact decided in a bookshop’. Consumers do not always know what they are after until they find it whilst browsing in a bookshop. Certainly, it seems that mortar-and-bricks bookshops are the way to discover new books that perhaps you hadn’t thought of buying before.

In an article by The Bookseller last week, CEO of the Booksellers Association, Tom Godfray, said that the UK would “wake up to a sea of orange” as booksellers across the country prepared their stores and events during the week. Of course, a big promotional event cannot be without iconic merchandise, and for the event, merchandise came in the form of Books Are My Bag tote bags designed by advertising firm, M & C Saatchi; inspired by Lord Saatchi’s Brutal Simplicity of Thought.

To add to the hype, the event was promoted by a media launch at Foyles in London on 9th September, where high-profile figures such as: Amanda Holden, Andrew Marr, Alan Johnson, Sebastian Faulks and Marian Keyes, attended in support of the event.

The promotion is set to run until 31st December 2013.

I personally feel that the BAMB promotion is a fantastic event in which to highlight our bookshops to the public. With new digital technologies, as well as the rise of online retailers, high street booksellers have slowly been dying out; particularly independents. Many booksellers already host an array of events such as author talks to entice customers over the threshold. One thing that did surprise me, however, was on looking at Waterstones’ website, there is no reference of the BAMB campaign on their main page. There is mention of BAMB on the blog section of their website, but what if the customer does not look at that section? Wouldn’t it be a good idea if bookshops’ websites had the BAMB logo somewhere on their homepages?

Of course, the campaign has been thoroughly popular on social media sites, such as Twitter. #booksaremybag was trending on the launch day, with hundreds of posts from independent and chain booksellers posting pictures of their events, and many customers tweeting about their purchases.  It will be great to see how much of an impact the campaign will have on high street bookshops and whether it will entice customers to use their local bookshop more often.


The week for independent booksellers!

independent-booksellers-week29th June – 6th July 2013 hosts a week dedicated to celebrating independent booksellers. With the ever-rising surge of online conglomerates, our bookshops are in danger and are increasingly becoming victim to ‘showrooming’.

Despite this, with large companies reportedly evading tax, many people have been put off from using them to buy books. BBC News posted this article to its site today suggesting that authors need to do more to support local bookshops.

Earlier this week, there was an event at the Southbank Centre in London, entitled: ‘The Perfect Storm: Why Bookshops are in the Frontline in the Battle for the High Street’. Anne Sebba, chair of the Society of Authors, stated that encouraging authors to visit their local bookshops and engage with customers will in turn encourage them to buy books from the shop. She says that customers will feel like they are taking away a part of the author, and not just the book.

This is certainly the case with Toppings and Company Booksellers of Ely and Bath bookshops. Living relatively near to Ely, I know that the Ely branch regularly hosts author talks which receives a fantastic response from customers. Past author visits have included Audrey Niffenegger and during this summer in particular, Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood are due to stage talks about their latest novels. I recently attended the talk by Audrey Niffenegger and a good majority of the people who attended the talk bought her book afterwards. Seeing this in practice, I can honestly say that I think Sebba makes a great point. Encouraging authors to visit local bookshops and talking to customers about their works allows people to feel that they understand the book better, as well as the author. In addition, by attending author talks and engaging in your local bookshop’s events, you are supporting the shop currently and for the future, too.

The BBC’s article highlighted that fact that between 2007 and 2012, around 400 independent booksellers closed on high streets across the country. It’s a scary thought that if this persists, we could be down to between 5 and 600 shops on our high streets by 2018.

Do I think independent booksellers will die out? No. I believe that the general public will fight to keep booksellers in business. I feel that despite the Booksellers’ Association’s alarming static that two-thirds of shoppers use bookshops as showrooms, the fact that younger customers are ‘feeling guilty’ for not using bookshops shows that consumer behaviours are shifting and that people want to preserve our heritage and culture which is partially made up of independent booksellers.

I also found this interesting article on The Guardian’s website: 5 reasons to support your local indie bookshop


It appears that it’s not just booksellers in the UK which are in danger, but booksellers in Venice are also in a battle against extinction.

Local authors have joined with the Venice Biennale, a contemporary art exhibition, to help with inventing new support systems to booksellers in Venice after some of the city’s bookshops closed down last week.

Venice-winter_2370349bThe Bookseller has reported the news today. Considering UK booksellers are also under threat, I thought it seemed appropriate to blog about the news as it is interesting (and worrying) to see that booksellers around the world are also struggling. In addition, it is not just the booksellers themselves which suffer, but the publishers aswell. What is worrying is that without bookshops, publishers have less places to sell their work which could in turn lead to more publishing houses struggling to survive. The closure of bookshops also destroys a cultural aspect of society with writers and the general public also suffering.

Writers have gathered outside the famous Salone della Libreria Sansoviniana to address the city’s MPs and the Town Council of Venice to help to save independent bookshops which are struggling to survive by the high rents and rates established.

The Venice City of Readers campaign has been set up and a manifesto written asking MPs to “recognise quality bookshops and support for independent bookshops in particular”. Other points which the document request is that bookshops are able to occupy publicly owned buildings, and philanthropy and cultural collaborations to support them.

With any luck, the campaign and manifesto will help the Italian bookshops to survive. The article highlights that outlets find it hard to survive in the famous tourist destination. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this will be. With the promotion of booksellers in the UK being reinforced with the Books Are My Bag campaign, should the project prove successful, perhaps we shall see a similar project being launched in foreign countries too.




Books Are My Bag

The Books are My Bag campaign was one of the prominent sights of the London Book Fair this year. I heard about the campaign on Twitter and immediately looked at the website to see what it was all about.

The campaign promotBooks-are-my-bag-logo-textes the UK’s bookshops. (If you look in the ‘Bookshops’ category, you can see that I have mentioned them a lot on my blog!) Bookshops have been featured in the news over the past few months for numerous reasons. M&C Saatchi are behind the project and are focusing on two main strategies: a PR campaign and a street campaign. The former will launch mid-September 2013 through til Christmas and will celebrate bookshops with many celebrities and authors supporting the project. There will also be opportunities for bookshops themselves to promote the campaign in stores. The latter is in the form of Books Are My Bag tote bags. (After following someone around half of the LBF yesterday, I managed to get one!) The campaign has been backed by booksellers, publishers and authors, as well as the Publisher’s Association and is said to be the biggest promotion of books and bookshops in publishing history.

“BOOKS ARE MY BAG celebrates books and bookshops and the simple truth that bookshops do more physically to let people enjoy their passion for books.” – taken from the BAMB website.

I believe the BAMB campaign is a fantastic way to promote bookshops. I believe it will encourage the public to think twice before they decide to log onto Amazon and make them think differently about the importance of bookshops. In addition, I feel that it will make publishers value sellers a lot more. With the threat of bookshops increasingly becoming extinct, I feel that the push to celebrate bookshops will be the right move in keeping booksellers on the high street.

Moreover, I also feel that the Foyles bookshop move and the #FutureFoyles project next year will also allow the public to see  bookshops in a brand new light.

Bookshops – places of discovery and places of prominence on the high street

Over the past couple of months, bookshops have been a prominent topic in the news and have been something which I have been blogging about over the months. Not only are bookshops one of the key places publishers can sell their works, they are also places of inspiration. Bookshops are places of beauty. I love visiting bookshops, I could spend all day in one. It is for this reason that I have been keeping an eye on any news about bookshops which has recently been in the media.


The Bookseller has published two articles over the past couple of days where they stated that ‘bookshop browsing is vital for the publishing industry’. One of the points which was emphasised was that bookshops enable customers to browse and therefore discover. Bookshops open up an avenue of discovery which online retailers such as Amazon cannot match; consequently, it has been suggested that consumers do not browse the internet as often as thought. It was discovered that 21% of all book sales were a result of consumers browsing in bookstores.

I think one of the key questions is, is whether consumers will  continue to browse in bookshops if they have to pay to browse? (CEO of Harper Collins, Victoria Barnsley, predicted last month that customers will have to pay to browse in bookshops in the future) It was said that 35% of all book purchases are from a book shop, meaning that 65% of people order their books online. Whilst it seems like a small amount, if 21% of that 35% is made up of purchases through browsing then it means that a significant amount could potentially be lost if bookshops do start to charge customers to browse, or the business closes down.

It seems though, that bookshops will not be leaving our high streets without a fight… Also this week the Mail Online reported that mortar-and-bricks retailers will start to sell books with additional chapters and content which will not be made available online. Essentially, bookshops will hold exclusive content in order to draw customers into buying from them as opposed to e-retailers. The idea is only just being introduced with Joanna Harris writing an exclusive additional chapter for her latest novel Peaches For Monsieur Le Curé, which is only available through Waterstones. Ian Rankin is another who is keen to publish exclusive content which will only be available through Waterstones.


With these latest developments in the revolution of the mortar-and-bricks bookseller coupled with the #FutureFoyles project and the introduction of bookselling degrees at the University of Derby, the bookshop of the future will certainly be an intriguing development in the industry. Personally, I cannot wait to see what will become of the beloved bookshop.

The cost of browsing

I just listened to a really interesting podcast from 7 February 2013 on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Bottom Line page about the digital revolution’s impact on the book trade. It featured Jonny Geller (Curtis Brown), Victoria Barnsley (HarperCollins) and Michael Tamblyn (Kobo).

One of the main discussions from this podcast was discussed in an article on The Bookseller‘s website: ‘Barnsley: bookshops could charge for browsing

An intriguing concept to consider – paying to browse around a book shop? Barnsley stated in the podcast that Barnes and Noble gave a recent statistic that 40% of their customers merely use the store as a place to browse before going home and ordering what they wanted online. So, in theory charging people to browse would be a great way for a bricks-and-mortar business to benefit in the current revolution where e-retailers rule. I can see how it would be great for bookshops, particularly if in the current economic climate it would be the line between a bookshop staying open or closing down. Certainly, I think the high street needs bookshops, whether they are small independents or national companies such as Waterstones.

I agree with Barnsley in the podcast where she states that we still need physical bookshops to discover. As well as this, I have to admit that I am one of those people who actually enjoys looking around a book shops: the smell of books, the look of crisp and new books and lined up along the shelves, the feeling of being surrounded by some of the greatest written works of all time and the prospect of being surrounded by academic works published by some of the most influential and respected publishers from around the world. The thought of paying to even look around a bookshop is a sad concept.

The Bookseller‘s article points out the fact that only 35% of fiction books in the UK are bought from a physical bookshop. With this pressure on booksellers, Barnsley says that the concept of charging to browse is not such a crazy idea in the current economic climate. Personally I feel that if booksellers have to resort to this in order to survive then they will have to, but I will not deny that it would be a sad day should the day come.

Listen to the podcast in full.