Exclusive discounts, social media campaigns and bespoke editions are among the creative plans publishers have planned to support bookshops ahead of their reopening in April.
Last week, Bloomsbury said it would be working with the Booksellers Association in encouraging consumers to return to bookshops using the hashtag #ChooseBookshops. A host of other publishers have also set out strategies to help booksellers, who open their stores again in England and Wales on 12th April and Scotland two weeks later.
PRH said it will be using the #ChooseBookshops hashtag and will share and repost live content as bookshops welcome customers, authors, readers and colleagues to visit their local shops to show their support. The publisher also has website content in the works, building on some of the pieces published earlier in the pandemic on how to support bookshops.
Hachette UK plans to launch a major campaign sponsoring Independent Bookshop Week, featuring videos from authors. The publisher will also offer bookshops opportunities to collaborate and work with its authors, signed and exclusive copies of certain titles, and an exclusive Cressida Cowell branded tote bag.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Following the success of our 2020 social media campaign for Independent Bookshop Week, we will once again be joining forces with our authors to celebrate and champion independent booksellers across the UK and Ireland.
“As part of our sponsorship, we will be releasing a series of videos of authors from across our divisions encouraging readers to visit and support their local independent bookshop. Last year’s line-up included Graham Norton, Victoria Hislop, Cressida Cowell, David Mitchell, Mark Billingham, Joanne Harris, Ian Rankin and Candice Brathwaite, and we will reveal who’s taking part in this year’s campaign in June.”
HarperCollins will also be “enthusiastically" using the #ChooseBookshops message. A spokesperson said: “ In addition to social media support from our authors, our ongoing programme of virtual signing tours continues, led in April by Jon McGregor. Our field sales team is offering a range of key new releases and perennial bestselling backlist with additional terms and support, and we are providing indie and Waterstones booksellers with signed books, proofs and other promotional material via our Indie Thinking site and Harper Insider magazine.”
At Pan Mac, the publisher will share content with the hashtag including videos on how to support bookshops and reasons to love them, blog posts on authors' favourite indies and Twitter threads recommending stores. Special content will also be created on its YouTube channel for the reopenings.
Canongate will also be asking its authors to support high street bookshops in England on 12th April and Scotland on 26th April using #choosebookshops on its social media profiles.
Simon & Schuster Children’s will work closely with indies to facilitate school events, with authors including Abi Elphinstone and Ben Miller. Informal signings when it is safe to do so for authors are also anticipated, in addition to local bookstore tours, to meet booksellers and sign stock. Children's illustrators are also lined up to create window displays, and the publisher is to return its buy one get one free promotion across certain picture books. An interview with Rosa Rankin-Gee has been confirmed with BookTime magazine, which is stocked by over 200 indies across the UK.
The publisher is also providing signed copies of books by authors, including Gordon Brown, Ed Balls, Jess Phillips, Michael Holding, Phil Tufnell, Ben Miller, Sophie McKenzie, Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet, Abi Elphinstone, Smriti Halls, Steve Small and Nadia Shireen.
Little Tiger has organised a personalised pre-order service with a local bookshop, to offer customers titles with bespoke covers, and has discounted some books on front and backlists.
George Hanratty, children’s press UK sales manager, said: ”We are thrilled shops are able to reopen and want to do all we can to support them. We will be working with bookshops, via our sales team at Bounce, to offer extra discount on both front and backlist to help with restocking. We have signed copies of The Boys available to all bookshops and Lauren Ace and Jenny Løvlie have worked closely with a local Independent, Cover to Cover, to offer personalised pre-orders."
Carsten Coesfeld, DK c.e.o, said: “We will be championing our support for indies and our key DK authors and influencers will be encouraging readers to go and visit their local bookstores, post about it on their social channels and also take a bookshop selfie when they are out and about too. We will also be promoting it to our DK followers and subscribers, tagging them in our campaigns and working with independents, creating relevant point-of-sale material to make sure our readers reclaim their love for local.
Tamara Macfarlane, author of DK’s Dragon World series and owner of Tales on Moon Lane, said: “The amazing support of publishers like DK putting their energy, and the full weight of their trusted brand status behind independent bookshops, will help us to reopen with confidence, revive our vital high streets, and return to bookselling at its very best.”
Commenting on the importance of bookshops, Profile m.d. Andrew Franklin said: “‘Publishing is unimaginable without high street bookshops. We depend on them professionally. And I depend on them to buy my books. So we are doing everything we can to help them reopen.”
The government announced on Friday (26th March) that shops will be able to stay open until 10pm six days a week when they reopen on 12th April. Shops will be able to extend their opening hours from 7am to 10pm to help customers avoid peak times and ease transport pressures through the new measure from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “To support businesses to reopen and recover, I’ve extended measures to allow shops to stay open for longer. This is part of a package of support to help reopen our shops and high streets safely, backed by £56m."
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