The Books Are My Bag campaign was launched in April at The London Book Fair, but kicks off in earnest with a Big Bookshop Party on Saturday 14 September. This will see bookshops around the country hold readings, competitions and author events, and distribute Books are My Bag canvas bags.

The campaign is calling on book lovers to show their support by purchasing a book on 14 September from their local bookshop. Further events will be held in the run up to Christmas, with over a quarter of a million bags distributed from 14 September to Christmas at over 1,800 chain and independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland.

“The campaign is really designed to make people aware of the importance of the bookshop in our high streets and campuses and also of the role the bookseller plays in the community,” said Tim Godfray, chief executive officer at the Booksellers Association, one of the organisations collaborating on the campaign. “It’s not just about selling books, it’s also about promoting reading and improving literacy.”

Also collaborating on the campaign is advertising agency M&C Saatchi, the Publishers Association and the Society of Authors. It has so far been endorsed by a wide range of authors, publishers and retailers including creator of the Horrid Henry childrens books Francesca Simon, publishers Random House and Penguin, and Waterstones and WH Smith.

Rumoured to be among the around 100 high profile individuals supporting the campaign, are Jamie Oliver, Mariella Frostrup, Bill Nighy and Delia Smith. A full list, with accompanying images of the celebs sporting campaign bags, will be revealed on 14 September.

Several UK printers, including Clays and CPI, have also expressed support.

Alison Kaye, UK group sales director at CPI said: “CPI is naturally very supportive of any initiative that puts the spotlight on books and helps bookshops to flourish. Well over half of consumer book buying decisions are made in a bookshop, so the high street is vital to the entire publishing industry. The Books Are My Bag campaign will encourage everyone to share their passion for books, which is good for us all.”

Highlighting the need for such an initiative, the Books Are My Bag campaign points to the fact that 88% of British book buyers are concerned there are fewer bookshops on the high streets than five years ago.

Godfray said: “Our bookshops have been under a lot of pressure in the last few years because of the way consumers are altering their buying patterns, and I think it’s important to remind consumers they have a real role to play.”

He added: “It’s not really a question of the high street bookshop being only a champion of the printed book, but they do have a particular synergy. You can go into the shop and actually see the product; you can have a look before you buy it.”

A full list of Books Are My Bag events can be found at