Books Are My Bag (BAMB) is a nationwide campaign in the UK and Ireland, the biggest collaboration between publishers, bookstores and authors to date, to celebrate bookstores. And it is now back October 8-10, 2015 to put wonderful bookshops on spotlight!
I found out about Books are My Bag campaign last year thanks to certain someone supporting the campaign… Thank you, Damian Lewis, for loving books, loving bookstores, and supporting Books Are My Bag!
BAMB website says “in fact, 56% of all book buying decisions are made by consumers in a bookshop and high street bookshops (both chains and independents) still account for almost 40% of books bought by consumers. Yet, many high street bookshops are under threat.”
Oh, yes, they are… they are under a real threat everywhere.
First, it was the record stores… It was first a bit fun when we heard the legendary Tower Records store closing just because everything had to go and it was incredible to buy tons of CDs from their amazing jazz and classical music collections at 50% or more off the original price… I guess we were just in denial about the store being close just because it was a legendary NYC institution for so many years on the Upper West Side… Tower Records is now an online music store. And, today there is a Raymond and Flanigan furniture store in its place. WHAT A SHAME!
We felt the threat on the bookstores a little bit later… The big bookstore chain Borders went out of business in the US a few years ago… And, Barnes &Noble, probably the biggest bookstore chain in the US has definitely sized down… starting with earlier closing times followed by closing down some branches, including our favorite on 66th Street and Broadway in NYC… And, now there is a Century 21 there… In case you don’t know what Century 21 is… it is a store that sells fancy brand clothes at affordable prices… Again… WHAT A SHAME!
You have probably noticed the fact that I have been talking about big chains, not independent bookstores. In a world, where big chain bookstores cannot survive, how come small, independent, mom and pop bookstores can make it? We all go and browse books in the bookstores, have a chocolate chip cookie and a latte, then go home, go online and buy our books on Amazon for lower prices… To be honest, we are part of the problem that drives those real bookstores out of business… Bookstores cannot afford the competition with online stores… and they cannot afford the competition with the Nook and the Kindle, either… When I imagine a future generation that will never know the smell of a bookstore, the pleasure of feeling a book, reading its back cover and discovering a new author in a physical space where one shares her love for books with others… I just feel sad, really sad…
I feel sad, because some of my most treasured moments in life are the ones that I have had in bookstores. I can lose track of time in a bookstore, can spend my whole day browsing and reading… And my all-time favorite bookstore is a big — their slogan is “18 miles of books” — independent bookstore in New York City, called Strand.
They sell new, old, rare and even out-of-print books. It is always packed with old and young people all browsing books, talking about books and sharing the love for books together… Call me romantic, call me sentimental, and yes I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to books, the touch and the smell of a book… including a few of my favorite books as below. Hehe.
Books are My Bag campaign has been devised pro bono by advertising agency M&C Saatchi in collaboration with publishers including Random House, Hachette, Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Bloomsbury and the Faber Alliance. The campaign has also been championed by bookstores, including chains such as Waterstones, W H Smith, Easons and independents such as Foyles, Jaffe & Neale and Mr B’s Emporium. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we had a similar campaign in the US to promote bookstores?
Books are My Bag celebrated last year’s campaign with the release of a wonderful book called The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell: “From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, and from bookshops in barns to those in churches, The Bookshop Book explores the history of bookshops and books,reveals author favourite literary haunts and examines over two hundred weird and wonderful shops worldwide. The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world. Be sure to pick up a copy!”
Jen Campbell is the author of the best-selling Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series, which was subsequently featured on Radio 4. She’s is also an award-winning poet and short story writer. She works at an antiquarian bookshop in London.”You can find more information on Jen Campbell, her author talks, Q&A and book signing events on her own blog This is not the Six Word Novel!
Please visit Books are My Bag website, buy a bag, or a tshirt, and support the bookstores! They prefer you to visit a bookstore and buy their merchandise but they sell online, too, here, in case you are not living in the UK — and yes I have already my bag and I am loving it 🙂
You can also visit their Media Centre to find out whether your favorite publication, author or celebrity is supporting the campaign. But, hey wait, you’re already here on Fan Fun with Damian Lewis, and yeah, your favorite celebrity is supporting the campaign big time!