Book trade challenged to take 'Bookaholism' forward

<p>Exploring how best to use the cross-industry &quot;bookaholic&quot; concept, including determining a launch date, defining its creative guidelines and how to widen its reach, are among the immediate challenges facing the Booksellers Association and Publishers Association.</p><p>The concept was revealed to delegates at the BA Conference yesterday (Tuesday 2nd June). Marketing consultant Damian Horner said that the campaign was at a &quot;very early stage&quot; and a strapline for the concept had yet to be hammered out. </p><p>He said: &quot;We have got an idea that people across the industry are happy to explore and push further into some manifestation that we can use as soon as possible.&quot;</p><p>A cross industry group, including the likes of WH Smith, Random House and Gardners, has been working on the concept for the past few months. Horner said it was up to the industry to take it forward and use it effectively.</p><p>Short term challenges include finding an effective strapline and logo, setting tone of voice, and how best to use it. </p><p>Horner said that although some had suggested using World Book Day as an official launch date, he was not entirely convinced of using that particular date. He said: &quot;Personally I think there is enough going on then. It needs some kind of official launch to widen its reach on an ongoing basis.&quot;</p><p>Horner described the concept as an &quot;edgy&quot; route, telling delegates that several other streams had been rejected. One was the &quot;reappraisal&quot; route, reclaiming what is great about reading and highlighting its portability. Suggesting a strapline like &quot;portable emotion&quot;, Horner said: &quot;It is a nice intelligent concept but also a bit dull.&quot; It also ignored e-books. </p><p>Another option was the &quot;escape&quot; route, which would use a strapline of &quot;Book here...&quot;. Horner said this was &quot;simple and flexible&quot; but warned it would be easier for retailers to use than publishers, and was lacking in an easy PR platform. &quot;It&#39;s fundamentally important that this is something people want to talk about,&quot; he explained.</p><p>The third and final rejected route was what Horner dubbed the &quot;clever route&quot;, highlighting the intelligent value of books. He suggested the strapline &quot;make up your mind&quot;, but said although it was a clever play on words, it could come across as too bossy.</p><p>The chosen route was one with &quot;a lot of momentum behind it&quot;, Horner said. &quot;It&#39;s cheeky, fun and memorable.&quot; He described its flexibility as one of its strengths saying that poetry, for example, could be sold with &quot;fancy a line of Coleridge&quot;.</p><p>A number of industry figures, including Penguin m.d. Helen Fraser, Borders UK c.e.o. Philip Downer and Tesco category manager David Cooke, featured in a video welcoming the campaign.</p><p>Fraser said: &quot;I thought it was the outstanding message mainly because those of us who have worked with books know how incredibly addictive they are and also how pleasurable.&quot; Delegates<br />applauded the concept after it was revealed.</p><p>Writing on, in response to criticism of the concept posted online, Horner stated: &quot;Bookaholism is NOT a strapline. In fact, we haven&#39;t even begun to pin down how we express the thought. One of the simplest manifestations of the idea is &#39;Get hooked on a Book&#39; which ironically was the most popular and most widely supported strapline on this very website. &#39;I&#39;m a Bookaholic&#39; is another version of the same thought. Many people would be proud to claim this - just as they happily claim to be shopaholics or chocaholics.&quot;</p><p>Horner added: &quot;At this point all I would ask is that people suspend their cynicism and allow the next stage of the development process to happen.&quot; </p>