Book badges: Build your own collection of bookish badges.
Gone are the days when being a bookworm was a secret hobby.
Bookish communities are explanding, bookish merchindise is available and bookworms everywhere are proud to show their true colours. But how do you get hold of those badges everyone wears at book festivals which celebrate not only reading but individual books and authors? Where, actually, do you get bookish badges at all?
That was my question as a newbie blogger. Sometimes it felt as if I scrolled through pictures of lanyards filled with badges. Was I missing something? In those early months I felt as if I had missed out on access to a secret club which only true bloggers knew about.
Now look at my beautiful lanyard. And those are just the ones that fit!
I have always been a collector. From Pokemon cards and Beanie Babies as a child, to Lego sets and pin badges in my 20s, collections have always played a huge role in my life. It isn’t only about owning one thing for me. Half the thirll is in the chase. The other part is in finding different ways to organise my collections. During the 2012 Olympics, I worked in the shopping centre beside the Olympic park and gained a reputation as a ruthless hunter of Olympic pin badges. It was inevitable, when I became a blogger, that I would crush on book badges.
Some of the books on my lanyard were produced for sale. Others were made in limited editions around the release of a book. I even have a very special badge celebrating The House With Chicken Legs which is different to the ones handed out to the public. I won mine in a competition.
The bad news is you will never get every badge. Or even a fraction of what is available. The great news is the ones you get will become a record of the books you have read, people you have met and the places you have visited. Really, that’s the greatest thing about my lanyard.
Here are some ways to get hold of bookish badges. Happy hunting … I mean collecting.
Book festivals like YALC, the Northern YA Literary Festival and YA Shot are brilliant ways to build your collection. Publishers set up stalls to promote their books and badges are often available on the stalls. They may also feature in goodie bags.
Badges are often available for sale too. I bought my larger Northern YA Literary Festival badge for the grand sum of £1.
Ordering books in advance is a great way to support authors. Pre-orders alert shops and booksellers that a title is attracting interest, and may lead to an increase in shop orders.
As an incentive and a way to thank supporters, publishers sometimes run pre-order campaigns. Evidence of pre-orders can be sent in exchange for anything from a bookmark, a signed bookplate, an entry in a competition draw or even a pin badge.
I’m waiting on a The Paper And Heart Society pin as I type.
Run a quick internet check or look at the publisher’s Twitter feed for news of pre-order campaigns.
Children’s literature doesn’t attract as much museum space as it should, but when it does, the tickets sell faster than you can say Quidditch.
The Harry Potter exhibition at the British Library in 2018 saw fans from all over the world heading to London. That’s where my Fawkes the phoenix pin came from. Additionally, the Seven Stories centre in Newcastle is home to a vast archive of children’s literature material, and there is always something interesting on. The exhibitions even tour the country, if you can’t make it North. I have a big Seven Stories badge and a badge celebrating Where Your Wings Were, an exhibition about David Almond’s work.
Meet the author
Meeting an author is, of course, a treat without a badge. The best reason to go to an author talk or signing is to hear about the story or learn about the author’s experience of the craft.
However. Badges are sometimes available.
Robin Stevens, author of the Murder Most Unladylike series keeps badges to badge the colours of her books. My Snowglobe, Whiteout and The Maker Of Monsters badges were all from authors, although that is no guarantee they will be available at current or future signings.
Author events are amazing. Badges are a lovely bonus and a reminder of the day.
Competitions on social media are most likely to happen ahead of or around the release date of a book. Check out publisher pages and social media feeds from your favourite authors, and you never know. Occasionally there might be a giveaway.
Generic book badges are available, and although they don’t relate to individual titles, there are some beautiful designs available.
Additionally, badges often come in bookish subscription boxes such as Fairyloot and Owl Crate. If, like me, you can only drool over unboxing pictures of bookish loot, the Twitter #swagfortrade is regularly used by book box subscribers looking to slim down their collections. There are often items for sale.