Tag Archives: independent booksellers

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.

@booksaremybag

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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