September 29, 2016
Go bookshops, go! The first National Bookshop Day is coming to the UK…
by Nikki Griffiths
On 8th October, The Booksellers Association of the UK and Ireland is holding its first National Bookshop Day, with around 2,000 bookshops participating.
What awaits book lovers on this inaugural day? Shops will be hosting various events, signings, and special parties in celebration, to mark the start of the autumn book season and the lead-up to Christmas. Events will include Margaret Atwood appearing at Toppings bookshop in Bath, crime writer Ann Cleeves taking part in a Shetland afternoon tea at Far from the Madding Crowd in Linlithgow, a meet-the-author event with children’s writer Nicky Dee at the Chicken and Frog Bookshop in Essex, and a party for Horrible Histories series illustrator Martin Brown at Westbourne Bookshop in Bournemouth.
Book clubs will also be held in stores, with Lutyens and Rubenstein in London and Southcart Books in Walsall amongst those who will be enticing bookclubbers in.
The head of marketing and communications at The Booksellers Association, Alan Stanton, had this to say to the Bookseller on the plans ahead: “The reaction from bookshops to the UK and Ireland’s first Bookshop Day has been fantastic. Bookshop Day will be an opportunity for bookshops to engage with new and existing customers and—above all—celebrate their shared love of books.”
The Books Are My Bag campaign also kicks off in October. In its fourth year, Books Are My Bag is a UK-wide campaign to celebrate bookshops, with participating shops selling special edition tote bags. In 2014 the bag was memorably designer by Tracy Emin. This year, award-winning book cover designer Coralie Bickford-Smith has created the limited edition canvas totes, officially commenting:
Discovering books old and new brings me great joy, so I was very excited when I was asked to design a Books Are My Bag tote for 2016. I hope my bag design encourages people to discover new delights of the printed word and to step into a bookshop more often. Local bookshops are important parts of a community — mine would not be the same without Rye Books, a delightfully vibrant bookshop in East Dulwich who are always ready for a chat, and full of bookish wisdom.
A children’s edition bag will be available alongside Bickford-Smith’s creation to celebrate Winnie-the-Pooh’s 90th anniversary, and will feature A A Milne’s beloved characters Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin in its design.
A brand-new book will also be published to mark the day. Five Go Bookselling has been written by Quercus author Bruno Vincent. His Five Go series is an adult spoof on the cult classic Famous Five children’s books by Enid Blyton.
So there is plenty to look forward to this October in the UK. Traditionally a publishing month-of-plenty, this year it sees several big-hitting authors releasing new books two days before National Bookshop Day, including Sebastian Faulks, Michael Palin, James Patterson, and Rick Stein. Not forgetting ‘Super Thursday’ on 20th October, the day when publishers bring out all their Christmas bestsellers, which will include books by Jamie Oliver, Phil Colins, Martina Cole and Julia Donaldson.
And (hooray!) two new bookshops will be opening from well-respected indies Foyles and Jaffe and Neale in October: Foyles in Chelmsford and Jaffe and Neale in Stow-on-the-Weld.
What more excuse could you have to buy books, many, many books…? And make sure you don’t forget Sady Doyle’s feminist wake-up call Trainwreck is publishing in the UK on 7th October (Elle calls it “fiercely brilliant,” just saying).
Nikki Griffiths is the managing director of Melville House UK.