Saturday, July 30 is Singapore’s first National Reading Day, part of the National Reading Movement, a initiative launched to encourage Singaporeans to read. According to The Straits Times, “The push to get more people to read comes amid survey results that paint a sobering picture of the reading rate here. A survey by the National Arts Council conducted over a 12-month period from March 2014 found that only 44 per cent of respondents had read at least one ‘literary book’ a year. Another survey by [National Library Board] in July 2015 showed that only half of Singapore residents had used library services in the past year, with numbers dropping as they age.”
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In the past few weeks, I’ve seen a number of gimmicky books-related products float across my social media… to capitalize on the National Reading Movement, perhaps?
Founder Adam Tie recently reached out to me about his new venture, The Novel Encounter, an online bookstore that sells books on merely a description, such as “Book 8: She Will Rise” or “Book 10: A Circus Act.” The product descriptions offer no cover art, no plot summary, and no reviews. “Just a significant sentence and the promise of a literary adventure,” Adam says. The Novel Encounter offers free delivery in Singapore for orders over SG$50. Use promo code SGFREESHIP.
LocalBooks.sg is new online bookstore featuring, well, “local books.” Its search function is rather baffling; are you looking for a book for “a mom who needs to upgrade” or “someone who needs a sign”? Still, it seems like a sweet site to find new #sglit, if you are so inclined. LocalBooks.sg offers free delivery in Singapore for orders over SG$80.
Singapore institution BooksActually just launched The BooksActually Box, a monthly subscription box. A “curator,” or bookstore worker whose recommendations and reading profile closely matches the customer, selects a book and “a little gift that will complement your reading experience.” Purchase 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscriptions, SG$129, SG$229, SG$369, respectively.
Similarly, Carpe Librum Singapore, bi-monthly subscription box that offers customers a paperback novel and “a number of other little bookish goodies” for SG$35 per month (inclusive of shipping/handling). July’s box included a signed copy of Gimme Lao! by Sebastian Sim, a notebook, an Ikat-inspired bookmark, Singlish stickers, “Complain King” pencils, and discount vouchers to BooksActually and Epigram Books.
Would you buy your books this way? (TBH, none of these products appeal to me personally—I am a library gal, have an eclectic taste in books, and I have too many books on my to-be-read list!) What other quirky consumer promotions have you seen?