Book Events

Celebrate Independent Bookshops | #BookshopDay

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It’s almost the time of year when book lovers all over the country get to join in and celebrate independent bookshops. Bookshop Day takes place on the first Saturday after Super Thursday (3rd October), the biggest single day of new book releases of the year. Bookshops across the UK will be stocking the new titles from authors with books out on Super Thursday. Philip Pullman, JoJo Moyes, Zadie Smith, Ben Okri,  Scarlett Curtis, John Le Carré, Sophie Dahl, Terry O’Neill, Nigel Slater, Henry Firth, Chris Riddell and Peter James enter the running to be this year’s Christmas number one.

Bookshop Day 5th October 2019


With events to celebrate independent bookshops taking place across the country, highlights include:

  • Philip Pullman Weekend at Waterstones Newcastle: over the course of the weekend, Waterstones Newcastle will host a wide spectrum of activities celebrating one of the biggest book releases of 2019; Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth. Polish your Amber Spyglasses and ‘dust’ off your Alethiometers. It’s going to be a good one! (Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October)
  • Philip Pullman at Blackwell’s Oxford: Blackwell’s is delighted to be hosting an event with Philip Pullman at the Sheldonian Theatre to celebrate the launch of The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two. The event will be recorded live for the Penguin Podcast (Sunday 6th October, 5:30pm)
  • Pullman Party and The Secret Commonwealth Book Launch at Waterstones Dorking: to celebrate the release of Philip Pullman’s much anticipated sequel to The Book of Dust, Waterstones Dorking will be hosting two parties with fun, games and competitions (Saturday 5th October)
  • Cressida Cowell The Wizards of Once signing at WHSmith, Worcester: Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell will be visiting WHSmith High Street, Worcester to sign copies of her book The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic (Friday 4th October, 4.30pm)
  • Bookshop Day at Waterstones Bath:to celebrate Bookshop Day and Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Waterstones Bath is hosting a free day when fans can come and meet local authors and illustrators. From 10am and throughout the day 14 writers and illustrators will be visiting the shop to sign copies of their books – including Emma Read, Rachel Delahaye, Laura James, Joanna Nadin, Duncan Beedle, Moira Butterfield, Katie Cottle, Stewart Foster, Graham Baker-Smith, Lucy Freegood, Fleur Hitchcock, Nicola Skinner, Kesia Lupo, and Damaris Young (Saturday 5th October)
  • Jess Phillips MPTruth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S at Toppings, Bath: Join Labour MP Jess Phillips as she inspires us to speak out against injustices. #TruthtoPower (Saturday 5th October, 8pm)
  • Plastic Sucks! Dougie Poynter Book Signing at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Westgate, Oxford: come and meet environmental campaigner and McFly musician Dougie Poynter (Saturday 5th October, 10am)
  • Poet Charlie Cox will be at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road (Friday 4th October, time TBA)
  • Elmer’s Walk featuring Elmer the Elephant at Pickled Pepper Books, Crouch End, London: based on the book by David McKee, Elmer’s Walk is designed to provide an interactive and sensory storytelling experience for under-3s. ​This very special event will also include a meet and greet with Elmer himself! (Saturday 5th October, 10am)
  • Maggie Mason Author Signing at Waterstones Blackpool: Maggie Mason will be in store Saturday 5th October signing the latest paperback release in her Blackpool series, Blackpool’s Angel (Saturday 5th October, 1pm)
  • The Secret Commonwealth Book Clinic at Waterstones Middlesbrough: to mark the release of Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth, the shop will be giving a ‘clinic’, recommending books that you may like if you love Pullman and need a new read to tide you over (Saturday 5th October, 2pm)
  • Philosophy in the Bookshop – Nigel Warburton and Kate Kirkpatrick at Waterstones 51 Broad Street, Oxford: Nigel discusses Becoming Beauvoir with Kate Kirkpatrick (Saturday 5th October, 11am)
  • R. J. Mitchell signing at WHSmith, Edinburgh: meet Scottish crime writer R.J Mitchell in WHSmith Edinburgh where he will be signing copies of his latest book The Blood Acre (Saturday 5th October from 11am)
  • A F Harrold signing Midnight Feasts at Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Essex (Saturday 5th October, 4pm)
  • Bex Hogan signing at Niche Comics & Bookshop in Huntington, as well as storytime, a pop up book club, cake, offers and gifts (Saturday 5th October from 10am)
  • Bookshop Day Celebrations at The Rabbit Hole in Brigg, North Lincolnshire (Saturday 5th October from 9.30am)
  • Catch That Cough: Storytime and Author Signing at Waterstones Wokingham: Bonnie Bridgman, author of Catch That Cough, will be in store doing a special storytime of her book followed by a book signing (Saturday 5th October, 11am)
  • Meet Amanda Mason at Waterstones Harrogate: Amanda Mason, author of The Wayward Girls, will be signing her exciting new book, and answer any questions from the audience (Saturday 5th October, 12pm)
  • Meet Andrew Ridgeley at Waterstones Piccadilly, London: hear Andrew Ridgeley telling about the story of his lifelong friendship with George Michael and sign copies of WHAM! George & Me. This is a ticketed event (Saturday 5th October, 12pm)
  • Meet Estelle Maskame at Waterstone Elgin: international best-selling author Estelle Maskame will be instore signing copies of her brilliant new book The Wrong Side of Kai! (Saturday 5th October, 1pm)
  • Tony Macaulay Book Signing at Waterstones Coleraine: Tony Macaulay will be celebrating Bookshop Day and the publication of his brand new book, Belfast Gate (Saturday 5th October, 2pm)
  • An Afternoon with Stephen Rutt at Waterstones Oban: birder and naturalist Stephen Rutt will talk about his books Seafarers and Wintering (Saturday 5th October, 3pm)
  • Saturday Storytime! at Waterstones Bluewater: on Bookshop Day there will be a reading of Don’t Mess with A Princess by  Rachel Valentine and Rebecca Bagley (Saturday 5th October, 3.30pm)
  • Dean Stott signing Relentless at WHSmith Fosee Park, Leicester: come and meet Special Boat Services soldier, Dean Stott signing his autobiography Relentless (Saturday 5th October, 1pm)

Search for independent bookshops near you on Books Are My Bag


Bookshop Day and National Poetry Day will join forces for the second year in a row in 2019, with poetry readings and workshops taking place in bookshops across the country, with further events to be announced.


Bookshops will be taking part in literary festivals across the country on Bookshop Day, including:

  • The Bell Bookshop will be at Henley Literary Festival
  • The Grove Bookshop will be at Ilkley Literature Festival
  • Waterstones, Bath is hosting numerous Bookshop Day events as part of Bath Children’s Literature Festival
  • Waterstones, Cheltenham will be at Cheltenham Literature Festival
  • Waterstones, Deansgate will be at Manchester Literature festival
  • Waterstones will be at Birmingham Literature Festival


A special, limited edition 10,000 word guide to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies will published by 4th Estate and available exclusively in bookshops from Bookshop Day ahead of the release of the concluding book in the trilogy, The Mirror and the Light (published March 2020). The Guide will include pieces on the revolutionary nature of the books, the main themes, the trilogy’s relevance today, the cultural impact and a section to help discussions at bookclubs.

Hodder Faith is creating a Bibles Are My Bag tote bag featuring a design that ties in with their journaling bibles.

Books Are My Bag logo

Emma Halls, Director of Campaigns at the Booksellers Association, commented:

“Bookshop Day 2019 is gearing up to be our best yet, with more bookshops participating than ever before and loads of really exciting instore activity. We’re hugely grateful for the wonderful support we’ve received from publishers and wholesalers this year. There are so many great reasons to visit your local bookshop on Saturday 5th October!”

Bookshop Day is part of the year-round Books Are My Bag campaign, which also includes Independent Bookshop Week and the Independent Booksellers Children’s Book of the Month. The Books Are My Bag bag carries a simple and powerful message allowing readers to display their love and support for local bookshops while encouraging others to do so. Since the campaign launched over a million people have worn a Books Are My Bag canvas bag in support of the campaign.

Will you celebrate independent bookshops on Bookshop Day?

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

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