Written by Sonia Palmisano, Marketing and Publicity Manager, Children's and Young Adult Books, Bloomsbury Publishing Australia.
When lockdown hit, we could hardly believe we’d have to do our Great Book Swap over Teams for the second year in a row. Like most businesses, everyone at Bloomsbury Publishing had assumed that 2020 was a one-off.
At Bloomsbury Australia, we love our annual Great Book Swap! So we weren’t going to let a pesky lockdown stop us. We had successfully navigated a virtual event in 2020, so we’d just have to do it again!
We certainly did not want to miss the opportunity to raise money for a cause that is so close to all of our hearts. All while ranting about our favourite books! (And swapping them of course. But, you know, it’s mostly an excuse for a real good rant!).
So, we created our fundraising page, and set a date and time. Each Bloomsbury staff member brought along a favourite book to share and swap.
Unlike our old face-to-face Great Book Swap events (usually held in the boardroom over tea and bickies), we had to set a few ground rules:
- Each person took a turn to hold up and talk about their book.
- Then, I pulled each name out of hat (to decide the order) and, one at a time, each person chose the book they wanted to claim for themselves
- And we each made a small donation on the fundraising page. And Bloomsbury will match what we’ve raised!
As this was our second Great Book Swap held over Teams, we’ve got a bit of a system going. And we’ve got our heads around the Pros and Cons of a virtual event.
Cons: Each person has to work out how to send/collect the books afterwards! This year, they’re using a mix of methods. Some are using Australia Post, some are doing contactless drop offs (for those who live within 5kms of each other) and there are a few who’ve simply declared “Let’s just wait till we’re back in the office, and we’ll pick it up in person”.
Pros: Way less violence! A virtual event lacks all of the physical tackling that goes with people scrambling across the boardroom table to snatch the book they desire.
So, if your workplace, school or bookclub is undecided, don’t let lockdown stop you! Be creative, and work with what you’ve got. However you choose to run it, a Great Book Swap is heaps of fun. We still love talking about books, and we still get to raise money for Indigenous Literacy.
That said, we do hope 2021 will be the last time we have to hold our Great Book Swap over Teams. We are very much looking forward to getting together for an in-person event next year. Bring back the mad scramble, we say - violence and all!