Publishers are celebrating Father’s Day with a range of promotions from social media giveaways to "30%-off" deals targetting the gifting market.
Pan Macmillan is recognising there are many different kinds of dad with its online non-fiction campaign bearing the sentiment: "Dad come in all shapes and sizes. Luckily our books do too. Whatever your Dad’s into, give him a book this Father’s Day”. Stickered for "loud dads", "fast dads", "mad dads", "brave dads", and "smart dads", it recommends respectively Brian Blessed's memoir Absolute Pandomonium, a book that "should keep even the noisiest dad quiet for an hour or two"; Formula One driver Mark Webber's autobiography, Aussie Grit, "the perfect gift for any petrol head"; gangland history Mad Frank and Sons by Frank Fraser, for if you "think your dad is hard?"; Craig Harrison's The Longest Kill for "daring dads", an "unflinching autobiography of a real life hero" with "heart stopping" accounts of sniper ops; and The Universe is in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard, pitched as a "wonder-filled journey through time, space and beyond" that "clever dads" will love.
Vintage has been active on social media, encouraging retweets on Twitter for the chance to win books from the #VintageDad stack. Key "dad-friendly" books at Vintage include Bobby Charlton’s 1966 memoir, published at the beginning of June under its Yellow Jersey. Dubbed "perfect for Father's Day", it also coincides with the 50th anniversary of England’s World Cup win on 31st July.
At Century a key title is The Romford Pelé by Ray Parlour which has enjoyed three weeks in the Sunday Times Bestsellers chart, and at Hutchinson Rob Cowen's Common Ground - longlisted for the Wainright Prize - is one of the only books in literature to give a description of childbirth from the father’s point of view as a meditation on how parenting changed one man’s life.
Transworld, meanwhile, is running PRH's first “reactive" digital outdoor campaign for football writer Henry Winter’s Fifty Years of Hurt, where the creatives change depending on whether England win or lose. It is being supported by "post-match analysis" from Winter himself, according to Transworld.
At Bonnier, imprint Piccadilly Press is running a Twitter campaign for Our House by T S Easton over the Father’s Day weekend from its @PiccadillyPress account, "focusing on the ‘dad' elements of the book”, while at BonnierZaffre it has planned “a huge amount” of activity targeting fathers from its @BonnierZaffre account. Debut spy novel Nomad by James Swallow has been pitched as the "perfect book for dad” and will sell for a special price of 98p on Kindle and for £5 as an Amazon hardback this month only.
Quercus has launched the "Quercus Father’s Day Lucky Dip" on social media asking followers for their best "so-bad-it’s-actually-good ‘Dad Joke’" for a chance to win one of four books in time for Father’s Day. "Winners won’t know what’s coming their way, but we guarantee all of these books will be a hit with dads this year,” said publicity director for Quercus Hannah Robinson. "We’ve had some classic entries so far, including: ‘They don't watch the Flintstones in Dubai. But Abu Dhabi do’ and ‘Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field’.”
Indies are also getting involved with Father's Day promotions, with Bloomsbury offering 30% off a selection of dad-appropriate books, including The Grantchester Mysteries by Sidney Chambers, No Way but Gentleness by Richard Hines and The Man With the Gold Typewriter. It highlights books to read with kids including Dino Daddy by Mark Sperring and Knightley and Son by Rohan Gavin.
On Twitter, Michael O’Mara is running a promotion offering readers the chance to win London Journals by David Long, illustrated by Kate Forrester, complete with gift wrapping; Mills & Boon and Kyle Books are offering "RT to win” competitions; and Walker Picture Books ask: "What’s your favourite thing to do with your dad?” with tweeted answers will be in with a chance to win a copy of A Brave Bear by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes.
Pavilion’s targeted ‘dad’ books, My Cool Convertible and the Embarrassing Book of Dad Jokes, have been involved in Father’s Day promotions with Sainsbury’s, and Oliver Bonas is reported to also be doing well with Dad Disasters.
In retail, The Book People ran a competition to win a Father’s Day bundle worth over £150, online bookshop Wordery offered the chance to win a bundle comprising a signed copy of Life Lessons from the East End by Danny Dyer, a signed copy of Man vs Ocean by Adam Walker and Penguin's How it Works: The Dad.
Bookshops running events during Father’s Day weekend include Chapter One books in Woodley, which has "Father’s Day Storytime” on Saturday (18th June), selecting My Dad is Brilliant to read by Nick Butterworth. Also on Saturday, Picked Pepper Books in London is urging customers to “get ready for Father’s Day” with a visit from author illustrator Claire Alexander.
Waterstones is offering a giveaway a day, with a signed copy of Chris Gayle's Six Machine, Chris Boardman's Triumphs and Turbulence, Rory Smith's Mister, and Oliver Kay's Forever Young. And on the day itself, Waterstones Cambridge has Father’s Day inspired story-time on Sunday (19th June) with Spot Loves his Dad by Eric Hill; while from 2pm - 3pm Foyles Westfield Stratford City is putting on a free children’s event where parents can spend time with their kids on Father’s Day with a colouring and activity session, complete with stickers to play with.
A spokesperson for Waterstones said: "Every father is different, and, with that in mind, our shops have tailored their displays to suit their individual market. Father’s Day gift displays will offer a mix of books, non-book gifts and Father’s Day cards.
There is a plethora of great books to choose from: The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan, a great choice for the history reader, Stephen King’s End of Watch for fans of crime fiction and the humorous Ladybird title How it Works: The Dad, to name a few."
How it Works: The Dad sold just over 17,004 copies for just under £83,000 according to Nieslen BookScan, and was the hardback non-fiction number one last week, seeing a 31% jump in volume sales on the previous week.
However, The Mum is currently beating The Dad. In the seven days prior to Mother’s Day week, last week’s equivalent, How it Works: The Mum sold 19,953 copies (£109,000), experiencing a rise of 43% week on week. In the week of Mother’s Day it sold 46,326 (£262,000), seeing a 132% volume rise on the previous week.