Bookshops: 'The Bard is My Bag'

Bookshops: 'The Bard is My Bag'

Bookshops across the country are set to stage a nation-wide "The Bard is My Bag" promotion to mark the 400th year since William Shakespeare's death.

Following on from the industry-wide Books Are My Bag (BAMB) and 'Civilised Saturday' campaigns, The Booksellers Association is encouraging all bookshops to participate in "Shakespeare Saturday" on 23rd April - which will mark exactly 400 years to the day since the infamous playwright died. 

In a humorous twist on the BAMB theme, dedicated "The Bard is My Bag" totes and t-shirts will be printed and given to bookshops to hand out to customers on "Shakespeare Saturday", along with corresponding point of sale postcards and posters. 

Bookshops are being encouraged to link up with local schools and hold events to mark the day to entice more people into shops and continue the work BAMB has done in promoting high street bookselling. 

The retail event will coincide with nation-wide celebrations of Shakespeare and his work, with coverage set throughout the year from the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe and in schools and libraries.

Alan Staton, head of marketing at The Booksellers Association, said: “It’s a great opportunity for bookshops. The fact that April 23rd is on a Saturday this year is such as gift. There will be a blaze of media coverage and bookshops can tap into that and have some fun with it in their bookshops in much the way they did with Civilised Saturday. It seems obvious to concentrate on performance... but as we’ve seen with Books Are My Bag, any sort of activity when aligned with national branding and a social media campaign can increase footfall and sales.”

Bookshops are already planning events with local schools, actors and theatres for performance events as well as traditional in store activity. 

The Booksellers Association said it will send out more details of special events around the country in the coming months, but has decided on a Twitter hashtag for the event, which will be: #bardabag. 

Other ways publishers are marking the anniversary of Shakespeare's death includes Oxford University Press, which has created a dedicated Shakespeare website, Cambridge University Press, which is publishing a £400 comprehensive guide to Shakespeare and Profile Books and The Globe which have teamed up to publish a Shakespeare Guide. The 23rd April 2016 also marks World Book Night, which has a Shakespeare theme this year.