Bookshops are the best places to be: we know this, you know this - make sure your customers do, too! Here are just a few starter ideas (and titles) to get you thinking about how to make 2018 the best NZ Bookshop Day yet. 

Give your publishers a call and see what they can do for you in terms of giveaways and so on, and send us your event details by Friday, 12 October 2018 for inclusion in the calendar of events. 

Don't forget to champion the book online as well as in-store! 

10 Years of Bestsellers - Booksellers' Choice TitleRelated Ideas 

Display: Display of books that aim to help people with their mental health

Discuss: Panel event discussion of the place of books in mental health discussions – there is a new collection of essays about anxiety from VUP called Headlands, which has about 50 contributors, many of which will be happy to speak on the subject

Connect: This can connect with The 10pm Question – the mother suffers anxiety

Out of the Box: Invite a panel of former All Black authors instore to discuss writing – Andy Ellis for his outdoor landscaping book, Michael Mulipola for his illustration of Reading Warrior books

Display: Create  a display of all of Annabel’s current selling titles

Discuss: Food positivity with a group of home cooks. 

Connect: Create your favourite dish & share it with the community (the big dinner) for charity

Out of the Box: Have staff bring along home-grown veges & fruit to give away on the day, or get a local forager to lead a foraging group to find free-range ingredients in your region

Display: Put a display of staff family trees in your window & encourage others to create theirs for a display on Bookshop Day

Competition: Kids or Adults competition - whakapapa writing or illustration

Discuss: Bring in authors who have written local histories – this could be self-published or more traditionally done – to tell their stories on the day. Make sure they aren't all from one cultural background! 

Connect: Celebrate with your local Chinese cultural centre if you have one nearby / for Chappy, your local marae as well as Chinese cultural centre


Display: Celebrate the world of witches with Inside the Villains from Gecko Press, in a display with other witchy NZ stories (The Witch in the Cherry Tree being another obvious option) - or just do a spooky Halloween display centred on Badjelly

Competition: Knicker design competition for kids on the day - cut-out knicker shapes with lots of felts to colour them in. 

Kids' Create: Make witches hats with coloured cardboard

Celebrate: Staff witch dress-up – how many different types of witches can you be?

Display: Books with music at their centre, alongside the instruments they were inspired by.

Celebrate:  In-store string quartet during NZ Bookshop Day

Discuss: Get some local composers in to talk about their process – contact SOUNZ for some ideas there; Fiction panel – talking about the art of good fiction with local authors who are recently published

Out of the Box: NZSO have a virtual reality conducting game – have a play with this in-store. You will just need a cardboard holder for people’s phones.


Display: Create  a display of all of Chelsea’s current selling titles

Discuss: Pull together a group of local celebrity chefs – have you had any on masterchef? To talk about influential food trends in a panel discussion

Connect: Create your favourite dish & share it with the community (the big dinner) for charity

Competition: Food photography competition on Instagram – who styles their food like a pro?         

Display: Display of all the variations of Edmonds

Discuss: Pull together a group of local celebrity chefs – have you had any on Masterchef? To talk about influence of the Edmonds. Many of their recipes will be based on the Edmonds cookbook!

Connect: Baking competition     

Just Ask: Ask Hachette NZ for support – they have posters and promotional ideas ready

Invite: Helen McKinlay is in Nelson and possibly available for storytelling sessions

Discuss: Classic picture book chat with different local authors in a panel on the day.

Connect: Another angle could be: why are there picture books about All Blacks but nothing published in NZ for older kids?  Panel discussion involving publishers too

Out of the Box: Grandma Blacks training session – get a community sports team to teach the oldies some rugby moves


Display: Get hold of Hairy Maclary in more than two languages for a display, and create something with all the other Dodd titles. 

Discuss: Storytelling session with dogs

Connect: Doggy lookalike competition and parade

Ask: Ask PRHNZ for support with anything you do with this as there are severe licensing restrictions around Hairy - but there is quite a bit of branding available to bookshops for promotions. 

Herbert: the Brave Sea Dog, by Robyn Belton (Invercargill)

Display and Discuss: Celebrate a local hero – canine or human – this could be a storytelling session for adults or kids (could include sailors, firemen, policemen)

Discuss: Storytelling session with dogs

Connect: Doggy lookalike competition and parade

Out of the Box: Tell sea shanties – get Glenn Colquhoun to visit if he is part of your community, he has a whole series of sea shanties he tells  

Display and Connect: Local nature photography competition, with the local professional photographer to judge the winner

Discuss: If you’ve had a book published about your specific region, invite that author in to chat to customers

Connect: Get the local iwi involved – stories from Māori myths and legends about how the landscape was formed

Out of the Box: A native seedling sale / giveaway from local gardeners

Discuss: Have a ‘Man Booker chat’ with your book club or on a panel

Celebrate: Dress up in historical dress

Connect: Gold-panning lessons in-store (Ok this is probably only going to work on the West Coast or Central Otago!)

Out of the Box: Discuss the place of media in making books boom on a panel with local authors (this could touch on the harassment of women), 


Connect: Storytelling time featuring the Little Yellow Digger & other eponymous stories of diggers and more

Ask: Scholastic has display materials for The Little Yellow Digger - just ask them

Out of the Box: Bring your favourite digger – get kids to bring in a digger to either share, or donate to a local Women’s Refuge or Aunties network

Display: Do a display of Lloyd Jones’s titles including his latest, The Cage

Connect: Get Lloyd  Jones to speak at your store

Discuss: Have a ‘Man Booker chat’ with your book club or on a panel

Out of the Box: Do a collection drive for Lloyd’s Bougainville Library – this could be a selection of books worth x that you are fundraising from the community to purchase, or something closer to a secondhand book drive for another developing country  


Display: Get a cow and calf instore on NZ Bookshop Day / a petting zoo     

Connect:  Animal themed storytelling session

Competition: Cow-drawing competitionConnect: For adults, a panel discussion on rural life with a recent writer – one idea is Bruce Ansley (new release Wild Journeys)

Connect: Fiction panel – talking about the art of good fiction with local authors who are recently published

Connect: Panel event about the cult of the back-country man that influences so much of what we think of as ‘New Zealand’ culture

Out of the Box: Micro hut-building competition – sand saucers with mini huts!

Connect: Get Catherine Chidgey in-store

Discuss: Acorn Foundation Literary prize chat – what does it mean that we have this prize that is so much more valuable than the others? Discussion between Catherine and Pip Adam; or between past judges of the awards

Discuss: Panel on the place of a good personal story in creating a bestseller, with local authors who have had some success in this

Connect: Ask Craig Smith instore for NZ Bookshop Day; or just get kids instore for a singalong and storytelling  

Competition: Donkey drawing competition

Ask: Scholastic NZ has promo materials for this publication, just ask them for them. 


Relax with a book

Create a space for reading and relaxing in the bookshop

Some couches or beans bags and comfy rugs to sit where children and parents can read, meet other authors or booklovers.  Promote ‘Ready Set…Read.’  

Build a coin trail in store
Invite the playgroups, kindergarten, primary school kids and parents to building a coin trail in marked areas in store and the proceeds to go to a local charity. Kids love this and the nominated charity could put their banners outside the store. 

Treasure Hunt for books
Time-honoured. Place hidden notes around the store for kids or adults to find and win a free book. Time Out Bookstore did this successfully. This could involve independent shops from all over the town, with a stamp each, to drive people into their shops. This would lead to kick-backs for your display.

Old Time Nostalgia
Old classic books up to new releases

Old typewriters, pen and ink displayed in shop to type or write messages – kids may find this fascinating and adults nostalgic

Window display crayons, pens, old classic books to new (cover displays)

Surprise goody bags
You could display some of your ‘Love your Brain...Read Books bags for special prizes which contain a book or some goodies donated from local supermarket or local shops – a note with a clue for what’s in the surprise bag. This could be a fundraiser for a local charity, if you run a raffle.

Create a ‘Your Pick” Table
The customer selects their best books in store with a note about why they recommend it and you display the book

An alternative to set up a book cloud (whiteboard, pin board, chalkboard or screen) during the week to go into a prize on Saturday – winner must be in store

Other customers purchase due to local recommendation

The most purchased book by lunchtime 29 October wins and the person who selected the book wins a book to a certain value. 

Have them help you out in the shop on the day!

Authors in-store

Invite authors to read and chat to customers

Ask a cookbook author to demonstrate a quick recipe and talk about their experience writing and photographing for their book – people are generally interested in hearing about the ‘behind the scenes’ experiences

Get a children’s author – story time or how to create a children’s book.


Themed dress up day- from a chosen book or the event of the day

Have staff place notes inside books with messages about their favourite page

Sign up to local bookstore “membership, etc. and receive a prize?


In-store or shop entrance music – get a local band, or school jazz band or Kapa Haka group.  Whatever suits your community and matches with your books.  


Twitter Hashtags:  #nzbookshopday,

Website: All campaign/competition details