Bibliophiles, aka book lovers, can be such introverts but it is important to get out of our comfort zones and go socialize, and what better way to socialize than at bookish events! I’ve planned, hosted, and been to many a book theme event and now I’m ready to give you the ins-and-out and the who, what, when, where, why and how to create and find the perfect book events for you.
Who has bookish events?
When thinking about cool events related to books we think of book shops, libraries, schools but also remember book lover parties bookish aka book themed events are where the fun is at! Just because stores and libraries are where most books are at doesn’t mean you cannot have a themed party or salon at home.
What sort of bookish event can I have or attend?
There are so many types of book events. Some of my favorites events are book signing, lecture/talks/Q&As, story hour, dressing up as favorite characters/favorite authors, or building a theme around your favorite book or author like like ones that have multiple books like Shakespeare, Dickens, or J.K. Rowling.
when to find or schedule an event?
When seasonal holidays arrive (christmas, easter, halloween) it is great to have events featuring books and activities themed around it. Spring itself can be an event, a national holiday, or just an weather themed event can be fun. For example, is it raining, then perhaps it is a great day to have A Cloud With A Chance of Meatballs event. Of course there are the classic bookish events like authors birthdays, publishing anniversaries, hot new releases (Harry Potter nights!), death/recent passing, book tours, local writers nights… so many fun events! I’m excited to attend these just writing about them!!!
Where can you find out about them?
Unless you or a friend is having a party or salon it can be quite difficult to find out about book events. When you are at your favorite book shop or library sometimes they’ll have print outs or flyers up. If you cannot find signs in person, the internet is my go to spot. For example when planning my last trip to NYC I search on my favorite book shop’s website and found their events calendar. I was able to reserve a seat and call ahead for a book to be held. When I was in high school I really loved Deb Caletti books so I found her author site and checked out her book tour schedule, and low and behold… she was coming to my local book shop! When I was very little my mom volunteered to run the library story hour so she also had the inside scoop on cool book events. My biggest tip here is to use your resources call around to shops, check author sites, utilize social media, add your name to mailing lists, be active at your local library and let your friends and family know you want to attend these sorts of events so they can keep an eye out and send information your way.
why Have or Attend a Bookish EVENT?
Number one reason, FUN! If you love books then book activities and talking about books is a joy. As a book seller I do like the sales and store exposure, plus we can bring in new customers, but if the events are not quality then it can waste employees’ time and hurt sales.
When the event kits the book shop receives from publishers are utter rubbish we try our best to supplement with craft supplies we keep on hand and things like great posters and parachutes employees like myself loan the store for the afternoon, plus costumes always add to events…which of course is one of my favorite reasons to have a bookish event. I love to dress up! Costumes and fun activities based on something you enjoy can bring you out of your shell, some readers like to keep to themselves and hate to socialize and a book event is the perfect opportunity for that.
how to get event supplies?
At book shops publishers, writers, and sometimes corporate offices send book kits for events. These typically include a reproducible set of activity sheets, instructions, stickers (or temporary tattoos), a poster, and a large (often abridged) store or demonstration copy of the book they want promoted. I like to supplement with games, crafts, and activity sheets I find on pinterest. I try to find things that are free or cheap, using supplies the shop or I already have, and select ones that take the least amount of time to prepare.
Aim to spend 30 minutes to 2 hours maximum preparing and setting up. One time it took four because the shop needed to restock on craft supplies and many local stores were sold out, and sometimes the event space is very heavily shopped so setting up the table and supplies can take longer, but generally I stick to that time-frame because quality not quantity is best. Additionally I need to aim to have multiple ages 0-100 happy with the events so my events are story and craft heavy.
If you’re planning for adults only you can have a favorite author’s favorite drinks bar or famous authors smoking lounge or literary themed teas and coffee. Basically, food and the general public don’t mix because of germs and allergies and cleanup so smaller events have so many more options in that avenue. Be creative with this, carve a watermelon and sculpt a cheese ball. Remember you want people to socialize and have fun!
I want to have just as much fun as my event attendees so I always plan activities I know I will enjoy, and I hope you do the same.
Check back soon for more bookstore insights and as always, keep reading!