Tag Archives: Foyles

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.



Earlier this week, Samantha Rayner, Senior Lecturer in Publishing at University College London, gave a lecture on our Business of Publishing module about the fundamentals of bookselling and particularly focused on the re-invention of bookshop, Foyles.

In partnership with The Bookseller, Foyles has held workshops inviting the public to attend to get their views on what would make the ultimate bookshop. It was only last week that I listened to a podcast on BBC Radio 4’s The Bottom Line show, where Victoria Barnsely, HarperCollins, predicted that bookshops of the future will charge customers to browse (See ‘The cost of browsing’ for more info).  Foyles is to said to be moving to the former St. Martin’s College of Art space in order to recreate its vision.

Miriam Robinson, head of marketing for Foyles, said that she found the workshops ‘inspiring’. In a world where the bricks and mortar book retailers are facing the ever so evasive competition from Amazon and the rise of digital, I believe that reinventing the concept of ‘bookshop’ is a fantastic opportunity. Patrick Neale, Booksellers Association president affirmed that ‘the big thing for Foyles is that the first 30 feet of the shop is giving the customers the best experience they can have’. So, after all the talk of what will become of the ‘future bookshop’, in our lecture we divided into groups and brainstormed our own ideas for #FutureFoyles, some of which made it to my Twitter feed…

I think my favourite idea was to have an experience/exhibition room, where once or twice a month scenes from novels are recreated, so visitors can essentially ‘live the story’. Exhibitions could coincide with historical events such as Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary or the Charles Dickens anniversary which occurred recently. Certainly with bestselling novels such as Life of Pi, The Hunger Games and The Hundred Year Old Man topping the charts, it would be a perfect opportunity to showcase these works outside of the page. Of course, I think it would be brilliant to recreate scenes from less known books aswell, but I think the whole concept of making a story become reality would be a fantastic idea should Foyles adopt this idea of an experience/exhibition room.

Other ideas which I think would be amazing in a bookshop, would be to create the shop more into a cultural space. I think events such as open-mic nights where aspiring writers and poets could showcase their work would be a great way of discovering the undiscovered. Making the bookshop more interactive as a whole with giant iPads and Kindles to interact with other people is also a good idea.

I feel that the #FutureFoyles concept is brilliant! And I definitely cannot wait to see how it looks when the new store opens in 2014…

Publishing Perspectives article

The Bookseller article