If you have children at nursery or primary school, you’ll be familiar with this weekend scenario:
- Check the diary – it’s little Amelia / Josh’s birthday party! Oops!
- Rummage around house for a present – hmm, probably not the bath salts
- Go to supermarket and buy branded toy (arrgh, too expensive but never mind…)
- Drive child to party clutching gift-wrapped horrible plastic horse / weird fighting man
- Hooray, ticked another thing off the to-do list but vague feeling of dissatisfaction lurks
Having undergone the above on one-too-many occasions, I started buying 5 or 6 books at a time from Amazon for birthday parties, partly because I love books, partly to make my life easier and partly for financial reasons.
Now, I knew that buying online had an impact on our high streets but I wasn’t really thinking about what supporting independent booksellers (and indeed high street shops such as Waterstones and Blackwells) really means. When I started reading Nicola Morgan’s blog, I started to understand some of the issues involved, and I decided that I actually needed to do something rather than just, um, think about doing something.
Going cold turkey on my Amazon habit isn’t an option (online shopping, what a blessing to the shop-starved mother!) but I’ve come to a compromise. I’m going to ‘adopt’ a local bookshop for buying birthday party presents.
As I was thinking all this through, I started wondering what would happen if other mothers liked the idea and started doing the same…
So this idea has blossomed into an idea for a campaign called ‘Books for Birthdays’ which is really about harnessing the spending power of mothers in the specific area of birthday presents, encouraging them to:
- buy books for presents
- support independent bookshops and / or high street chains by purchasing from them
I’ve had all sorts of wonderful ideas, involving a shiny new website to design; getting in touch with some industry bods and even one involving a launch party with dresses and cakes. Mr Enemy of Art very sensibly suggested that before I got too carried away, I should ask for a little feedback…
And this, dear reader, is where you come in:
- Is there anything out there all ready like this?
- What do you think of this idea? Is it something you’d do?
- Who might be interested? Individuals? Organisations? (I thought of Edinburgh City of Literature, Scottish Government, Scottish Book Trust, independent booksellers organisation –is there one?! – Royal Society of Authors, those nice writer people at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure…)
- What else should I think about?
- Tea dresses and cakes or evening dresses and cocktails?!
I do have a briefing document (I know, very fancy pants!) so drop me a line if you would like to hear about the idea in more detail.