Even when I worked in a London bookshop approximately 300 years ago (or at least before Amazon existed), book tokens felt like something from a different era. We had to lick a gummed strip to stick the tokens into cards to sell them, and it felt like we mostly sold them to charming older people afraid of choosing the wrong gift for their grandchildren.
(For those reading outside the UK, the National Book Token is a long-running gift card scheme whereby a shoppers can buy a voucher from £5 up in their local bookstore in Aberdeen and send it to someone in Exeter, who can then use it to buy a book of their choice in their local bookstore.)
So it’s nice to see that instead of giving up in the face of the Amazon gift voucher, National Book Tokens is fighting back with a new promotion to go with its new website (launched in August).
The promotion takes the form of an enjoyable visual cryptic quiz and players who register are in the running to win a year’s worth of books. It has social media features, allowing users to ask friends for help on specific clues via Facebook, as well as share the whole thing.
National Book Tokens unveiled the Caboodle branding earlier this year as it became a loyalty scheme for book lovers rather than just a gift voucher mechanism.
And these days instead of being gummy-stripped and licked by your local bookseller, the tokens come in smartcard format, which can be ordered online as well as bought in store, and registered on the Caboodle website so that losing the card doesn’t mean losing the voucher.
Along with selling tokens, the Caboodle website acts as a point of information regarding local bookstores and events, discounts and promotions.