Independent Booksellers Week (IBW) is an annual initiative run by the Booksellers Association, to support the 1,200 independent bookshops, or ‘indies’, in the UK. Midas PR was asked to help raise consumer awareness of IBW and the ‘indies’, many of whom are bucking trends and thriving, despite difficult trading conditions on the high street.
To increase the profile of ‘indies’ and develop consumers’ understanding of what they do best.
To showcase ‘the best of the best’.
The book-buying public
The digital team at Midas PR created an IBW website which acted as a resource for booksellers, consumers and the media alike. Midas created a downloadable PR toolkit which enabled participating booksellers to run their own localised PR campaign to coincide with IBW.
The media strategy was designed to highlight the fun and creativity of independent booksellers as well as conveying the serious business messages. Midas compiled eight case studies of the most progressive bookstores, to use as supporting collateral.
An emphasis was placed on securing media coverage with business and art correspondents on national broadsheets, in addition to national broadcast channels.
Midas invited national TV and print journalists to visit bookshops to see for themselves some of the dynamic, creative activities underway during IBW. BBC Two’s Working Lunch filmed on location at The Bee Hive bookshop in Norwich, just one of many bookshops with a great story to tell. The Guardian online was one of several websites to feature images of bookshops around the country.
The team worked closely with individual bookshops to maximise media opportunities in order to showcase their most entrepreneurial and creative activities.
This included achieving national coverage for some of the more unusual bookshops, such as SilverDell in Preston, Lancashire which has an ice cream parlour inside the store. Midas worked with SiverDell to create ice cream recipes that were then offered to popular radio presenters. They were offered the chance to have ice creams made in their honour to celebrate IBW, encouraging listeners to name the product and choose ingredients.
Midas also devised an initiative called ‘Overheard in a bookshop’ which invited booksellers to submit the funniest comments and questions from customers, the best of which were used in press materials and which were subsequently well-used virally.
More than 130 items of media coverage were achieved before, during and after the IBW campaign. National newspaper articles were secured with the Independent, Observer, The Times, Sunday Telegraph, Guardian Online and telegraph.co.uk.
Broadcast coverage included BBC2’s Working Lunch and business bulletins on BBC Radio Four. Simon Mayo’s drivetime show on BBC Radio Two and Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show on BBC 6Music both ran several features on SilverDell’s ice creams.
There was an increase of 11 per cent in the number of bookshops taking part in IBW in 2010 compared to the 2009 campaign and the number of events and activities put on by bookshops also went up by 26%. Informal feedback from booksellers was extremely positive.
The IBW 2010 website created by Midas PR proved an invaluable resource for booksellers and consumers, with 176,636 unique visits during the three month campaign.
The week was also supported politically by MP, Mark Menzies in the Houses of Commons and through a motion proposed by MSP, Aileen Campbell in the Scottish Parliament.
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