By Caitlin Davies, Danielle Hernandez and Georgia Rees
A bookshop like no other, BookBar promises a unique social space as a shop that “brings people together through books.” For founder Chrissy, her bookshop is a “fun, warm, welcoming space…to come and hang out, like your favourite wine bar or your kitchen table. It's never about how many books you've read that year or whether you've read the latest prize-winners.” BookBar offers a range of options for bibliophiles to first time readers, with their own book club, ‘shelf medicate’ service, as well as bespoke recommendations online. By mixing socialising with book selling, they continue to excite customers and propel the latest releases to success. June looks to be no different.
BookBar Marketing Techniques
Utilising a range of channels to their advantage, BookBar have excelled in a range of marketing and publicity techniques from digital campaigns on social media, to exclusive live events in store. The BookBar Instagram account, for example, is home to a colourful feed showing off their cosy space just as much as the chart-topping books on their shelves. Amongst the curated photos are posts advertising the unique elements of their service, such as personalised recommendations, fresh coffee blends on site and a book club subscription.
Clearly a creative bunch, the team behind the BookBar have not shied away from the latest social media trends either, integrating short reels into their feed in an effortless way that compliments their existing content. TikTok’s featuring the team’s current reads or showcasing recent summer releases fit seamlessly into the chilled account in a way that will appeal to the young target audience.
And the activity doesn’t just stay online. Upon entering the shop itself, readers are hooked by further bookish marketing. Pleasing window displays and outdoor seating are a nice touch, but the genius of the BookBar is appealing to all our senses. The printed gift guides during the festive season help customers browse for the perfect gift, whilst the mellow reading playlists by the in-house DJ sets the scene for the day. Even the Bottle of The Month wine pairings, chosen to match specific titles, keep taste buds happy as customers read, making the shop an irresistible social space and the books an even more tempting purchase.
Independent bookshops were once a very key part of the customer journey when marketing books. With the recent Waterstones acquisitions it might look as if this is a thing of the past, but this is one independent bookstore that clearly isn’t going down without a fight. And the message seems to have registered with publishers. Quercus books named BookBar as their retailer of choice during the marketing campaign for Emily Ratajkowski’s essay collection My Body last year, even teaming up to host a pre-order competition. Not to mention Picador books who also partnered with the indie bookshop to bring readers an exclusive London signing event during the release of Hanya Yanagihara’s To Paradise back in February.
June Book of the Month
BookBar’s June Book Of The Month pick is Akwaeke Emezi’s latest release You Made A Fool Out Of Death With Your Beauty (YMAFOD). Inspired by the Florence And The Machine song Hunger, Emezi’s first foray into romance has been dubbed “the ultimate summer read,” with Bustle declaring it “the book of hot girl summer.” We follow our main character Feyi, a young widow who escapes the city for a dream holiday where she finds a new life and new love, whilst still dealing with feelings of guilt and grief for her past lover.
BookBar are really getting behind YMAFOD this summer, with stock of the limited independent bookshop edition selling out fast. Lucky readers had the option to purchase the book alongside an exclusive YMAFODxBookBar limited edition box containing tote bags, nail decals and a travel nail file. In keeping with the theme, a pop-up nail bar in partnership with Faber Books took place on 14 June, with tickets including a limited edition copy of the book, exclusive merch and the opportunity to have your nails painted in the style of the iconic cover.
The BookBar really is a destination bookshop. Although you can shop with them online, their USP is their lovingly intuitive book x wine matchmaking service. For just £3, you can enjoy a glass of wine (or soft drink) that has been handpicked to go alongside their spotlight books. The pairing for YMAFOD this June is Mon Rose from Languedoc in the South of France, or a spicy Karma Gingerella for those wanting an alcohol-free option.
Previous Books Of The Month which have enjoyed similar energetic marketing are Monica Ali’s Love Marriage, Julia Armfield’s Our Wives Under The Sea, and Nikki May’s Wahala.
Other fabulously bookish events are commonplace at BookBar. This April, to celebrate BookBar’s one year anniversary, special guests Bolu Babalola and Marianne Levy joined other names for a summer showcase promoting their new books and giving readers the chance to mingle and chat to the authors.