National Book Tokens unleashes annual Hidden Books Game

National Book Tokens unleashes annual Hidden Books Game

National Book Tokens is launching its annual brainteaser, the Hidden Books Game, for the ninth year running this Christmas, with authors including Dara McAnulty set to partipate in the online campaign. 

The festive puzzle, launching at 11.30 a.m. today, challenges readers to identify 20 different book titles hidden in an image, with the winner receiving a £500/€500 National Book Tokens gift card. Ten runners up will each receive a £150/€150 National Book Tokens gift card. Authors including McAnulty, Adam Kay and Ian Rankin will support the Hidden Books Game on social media for the first time, offering hints in the form of riddles to help players unravel the titles hidden within the image. A quiz will also be available on National Book Tokens’ reward programme Caboodle, to help fans determine what kind of player they are. 

Award-winning illustrator Harry Woodgate will bring the game to life again this year, and has designed a striking image to celebrate high street bookshops. Woodgate was nominated for the V&A Illustration Award 2019 and has worked with Penguin Random House, the Sunday Times, the Big Issue and House of Illustration among others. Woodgate's recent books include Grandad's Camper (Andersen Press) as author/illustrator and Little Glow (Owlet Press), and The Very Merry Murder Club (Farshore) as illustrator.

Woodgate said: “As always it’s been a joy to work with the National Book Tokens on the Hidden Books Game. This year’s edition is packed full of some brilliant books and feels like such a lovely celebration of books, bookshops and booksellers everywhere. I hope the illustrations prove sufficiently fiendish while helping everyone get into the cosy, festive spirit!”

Stacey Croft, digital marketing and brand manager at the organisation, added: “When people think of the Hidden Books Game from National Book Tokens, they think of Christmas — it’s one of our favourite projects to work on and is an integral part of our Christmas campaign. The game is a celebration of books and the joy that comes with choosing a book as well as the fun of reading it. Harry has done a wonderful job bringing to life our tricky clues, with a bookshop at the centre of the high street. We hope book lovers across the UK and Ireland have a fun (and frustrating!) time playing it.”

Previous Hidden Book Games have been played by more than 450,000 people to date, and the contest is a key part of the National Book Tokens Christmas marketing campaign, emphasising the message that gift cards are "a gift beyond words" for book lovers at Christmas.

Developed with creative agency Arthur London and media agency Wavemaker, this year’s campaign will be deployed across print, digital and social advertising. The campaign will centre on a media partnership with the Guardian in the UK, and the Irish Independent,  launching early to drive instore and online sales for bookshops in anticipation of potential disruption for shoppers.

The  challenge will be open until 31st December 2021. For the first time, Bookshop.org will announce the answers via a book list on its website, socials and newsletter in January 2022, alongside Caboodle.