Publishers are rolling out their Black Friday deals to consumers today (27th November).
HarperCollins has launched Christmas gifting pages on its website, with the company offering up to 50% off a selection of books from across its imprints.
One page features “gifts for all book-lovers”, including titles by Cecelia Ahern, Bernard Cornwell, Nigel Slater and George RR Martin, while the other page features gifts specifically for children, with books by David Walliams, David Baddiel, Judith Kerr, Michael Morpurgo and Holly Smale.
The pages will be promoted to customers through email, social media and other online locations. To mark the promotionl deep- discounting day, HarperCollins is also printing a very limited number of world exclusive black cover editions of Purity by Jonathan Franzen, for which it will be running a competition through HarperCollins.co.uk.
Penguin Random House Children’s is planning a day of “light-hearted, cheeky tweets” on Black Friday where some of its top literary characters will share their “playground rules” for Christmas shoppers. In addition, it is kicking off a series of promoted tweets for its Seasons Readings Christmas campaign, with a ‘Give a gift of…’ theme.
Independent publisher Oneworld is sending out a newsletter offering customers 40% off 20 books selected from its non-fiction, fiction and YA bestsellers’ list. There will also be a note on its website too flagging up the offer.
Salt Publishing, meanwhile, is running a discount code promotion on Black Friday (blackfriday2015) offering 25% off everything in its store, with free shipping for the UK. Accent Press has a selection of e-books on sale for 99p, and will be “doing a big splash/ push across social media with bespoke artwork for each title.” It will also be rolling out its ‘Be Independent this Christmas’ campaign and competition encouraging people to visit indie bookshops.
Amazon, meanwhile, credited with bringing Black Friday over to the UK from the US, where the promotional day began as the day after Thanksgiving, has been running its “Biggest Ever Black Friday Deals Week” since Monday, advertising “up to 50% off on thousands of products” with “new deals every 10 minutes”.
In books, this has included 67% of Minecraft books, 50% off Guinness World Records 2016, and more than 200 Kindle books for 99p. Customers have also been offered £30 off a Kindle Paperwhite and £10 off a Kindle with Touchscreen Display.
This year the Booksellers Association has encouraged booksellers to participate in “Civilised Saturday” on 28th November as the antithesis to the “mayhem” of Black Friday.
Many indies are taking part, holding author events events, Christmas gift-wrapping services and offering their customers prosecco to drink while they shop.
The Big Green Bookshop in London’s Wood Green, meanwhile, is running its own take on day called ‘Sausage Saturday’, offering customers food, including sausages, to eat while they browse the books on offer.
Quercus has also launched a Civilised Saturday campaign in support of bookshops. From Wednesday through to Sunday (25th-9th Novemeber), the publisher will be releasing “shareable images” through its social media channels “listing the reasons why Civilised Saturday is the perfect post Black Friday treat.” The imprint is also asking all bookshops taking part to tag Quercus in their Civilised Saturday photos and one bookshop will win an English Afternoon Tea hamper.
The Book People, meanwhile, is holding its 'Biggest Ever Black Friday Sale', offering 87% off books.
Waterstones is increasing the number of half price titles it has on offer in store across the Black Friday/Civilised Saturday period, but Blackwell's is not taking part in either promotion.
Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, recently told The Bookseller that Civilised Saturday promotion "sounds like a great idea", but warned that deep discounting could result in customers expecting cheap products throughout December. He said: "The big issue about Black Friday is how much the discounting pulls forward business that retailers would otherwise have got at full-ish price before Christmas, and how far it reduces consumers' willingness to pay full price in December. But you shouldn't underestimate the profitability of 'planned' discounting, when retailers work with suppliers."
Asda - one of the first stores to participate in the promotion in the UK - has said would not take part in Black Friday this year, claiming that "shopper fatigue" had set in "around flash sales on big-ticket, non-essential items at Christmas". Several people were arrested in its stores last year while squabbling over cheap products.