Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely and The Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler have designed the adult and children’s tote bags respectively for this year’s Books Are My Bag (BAMB) campaign.
At the same time, The Booksellers Association has revealed that Bookshop Day—its event encouraging retailers to hold events and promotions to showcase the vibrancy of high street bookselling—will take place on Saturday 7th October 2017.
Kiely, who designs handbags and kitchenware along with a variety of other products, has been described as “the Queen of Prints” by the Guardian. She has created a floral patterned tote in her “retro print” style, which will be available in bookshops from Bookshop Day.
Meanwhile, Scheffler’s design for the children’s tote features his Pip and Posy characters. Publisher Nosy Crow, which will release a new title in the Pip and Posy series (The Christmas Tree) in October, has sponsored the children’s totes.
Kiely, whose forthcoming book Pattern is published by Conran Octopus in September, said: “As a great lover of books and bookshops, nothing gives me more pleasure than discovering a new book, whether it’s a beautiful edition on a new favourite photographer [of mine], a great novel or a rare out-of-print edition. We should all take time to read and, importantly, to encourage our children to love books.”
Scheffler added: “My Pip and Posy design celebrates a love of books that will hopefully resonate with young and old alike—and I hope it encourages people to take a trip to their local bookshop.”
The BA’s head of marketing Alan Staton said he wanted to make BAMB “bigger and better than ever” in its fifth year. “We’re absolutely delighted to have Orla Kiely and Axel Scheffler as this year’s Books Are My Bag designers," he said. "They are both iconic designers who believe passionately in the importance of bookshops."
Bookshop Day, which launched in 2016, will return on Saturday 7th October with bookshops across the UK & Ireland hosting author talks, book signings, special events and more, with details to be announced later in the year.
Last year the campaign involved, for the first time, the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, which are to return this year.
Bookshops will again curate a shortlist of books across a range of genres, with public voting opening on Bookshop Day and the winners announced at a ceremony at Foyles on 21st November. The inaugural award was won by crowd-funded anthology The Good Immigrant (Unbound).
Staton added: “Last year’s Books Are My Bag campaign was our most successful yet, and we’re looking forward to making the fifth year bigger and better than ever. The UK & Ireland’s first Bookshop Day in 2016 saw the public really getting behind their local bookshop, while the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, the first book award curated by bookshops and voted for by booksellers, struck such a strong and emotional chord with authors, publishers, booksellers and the reading public.”
Helen Stanton, owner of Forum Bookshop in Corbridge, said the BAMB campaign was important for high street bookshops. "It's definitely still needed [even though print sales are rebounding]," she said. "The campaign gets a lot of coverage and is very well known in the wider world. We get a national publicity and it's nice to see bookshops celebrated in the press."
Sheridan Swinson, owner of Aardvark Books in Shropshire, agreed. "I do like and support the campaign," he said. "Anything that increases awareness of books and bookshops is definitely a good thing. And customers really do like the bag."
Full details of the Books Are My Bag 2017 campaign will be unveiled later this year.