The Booksellers Association (BA) 2021 Christmas catalogue is to be bumper edition, with introductions by Malorie Blackman and Matt Haig.
Its size has increased by eight pages, as more publishers submit titles for inclusion. This year sees a record print run of nearly 470,000 for both the adult and children's catalogues combined, with the BA receiving orders from 180 indie bookshops, including Blackwell’s.
Haig has written the introduction to the adult catalogue, while former Children’s Laureate Blackman has penned the introduction for the children’s edition, accompanied by illustrations from Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner Dapo Adeola.
In his introduction, Haig considers the public reaction to bookshops reopening after multiple lockdowns. He writes: "I feel that independent bookshops will be cherished more than ever this holiday season. Not only as places to find our gifts, but also as gifts in and of themselves. The gift of being out in the real world, amid tactile shelves and tables of humanly ordered possibilities, ready to find something you didn’t even know you needed to read.”
Blackman’s introduction praises the support given by independent bookshops to authors, saying: “There is a level of trust between the bookseller and the customer that isn’t to be found in many other shops. And as an author, I can safely say that there is nothing quite like having a bookshop passionately support you and your work. Their backing tends to be active, unwavering and enduring.”
The catalogue, a joint venture between the BA, Nielsen Book and Gardners, is the only one with titles chosen by independent booksellers specifically for indie bookshops and their customers. It offers independent booksellers a marketing and selling tool, with a marketing support package supported by National Book Tokens. The catalogue includes digital editions through Nielsen Book’s Book2Look widget tool, free Christmas books social assets for shops to promote themselves and the catalogue, plus subsidies for door drops and local media advertising.
Meryl Halls, m.d. at The Booksellers Association, said: “It is fantastic to see the popularity of the Christmas catalogue growing year on year and we are delighted that the trade has shown such strong support for the catalogue with the submission of so many titles, and the ordering of so many copies by such a range of booksellers. This year, we will be encouraging customers to shop early and shop local in time for Christmas, and we know that the catalogue helps independent booksellers to curate the perfect selection for their customers this festive season.”
Nigel Wyman, sales and marketing director at Gardners, added: “Gardners is proud to be a part of the team that deliver the Christmas Books campaign to booksellers. It is a fantastic project to be a part of and is a real driving force for sales at a crucial time of the year. This marketing tool is a huge asset to the booksellers that take them, the publishers featured inside, and ultimately the end customer that gets to browse a hand-picked selection of first-rate titles.”
The BA is also offering wrapping paper which complements the designs of the Christmas Book 2021 catalogues. Details can be found on the Booksellers Association website. Booksellers interested in the catalogue can order non-overprinted copies from Gardners Books.