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July 11, 2017

Book Swag --- Guest Post by Teen Board Member Wren L.

By Wren L.
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When Teenreads heads to conventions and book festivals, we're not only looking to see our favorite authors IRL. We're also on the hunt for advance copies of up and coming books, discounted copies of books that are in stores and, of course, book swag! Not familiar with the term? Book swag refers to any extra items you might receive with a book that helps promote the book, author or publisher. In this post, Teen Board member Wren L. tells us all about some of her favorite book swag items and why she prefers some over others.


People collect and trade it. You probably have some sitting at home.

I am talking about book swag.

Book swag is the best way to both spread word about a book or series and give readers something to keep. It is a very good marketing tool. Some items are useful, such as bookmarks and pens, while others are not as useful, but still fun, such as samplers.

As much as I love receiving and distributing book swag, there are some negatives. My major problem with swag is that it can get contentious at times, particularly at large conventions, where people might fight to get some exclusive swag. For example, I still clearly remember how rough it got with the SIX OF CROWS exclusive-San Diego Comic Con swag.

Here are some of my favorite and least favorite items of book swag.

Bookmarks:

These are insanely useful. I use bookmarks from events all the time. My bookmark is currently a Princeton bookmark to mark my books.

I hate dog-earring pages or using random scraps of anything to mark my books. (I have even used unused toilet paper when I had no paper around me.)

I have bookmarks from ILLUMINAE and CRYSTAL CROWNED, and I am quite proud of those.

Totes:

I adore totes and use them all the time. I have two from Penguin Teen and one from Epic Reads. I use my Epic Reads tote to hold all of my book and anime swag. When I go to book events or even just need a small bag, I use a book tote, especially my Penguin Teen ones.

I have seen tons of different totes. One day, I want one with zippers and pockets. Totes typically only have one main area to put things, but I am someone who likes bringing napkins and mints, so having little pockets is best.

Pens:

Pens are amazing. I love using them. (Even if people complain that it is impossible to read my writing in pen.) When I get a new pen, it is immediately put in my little pen cup, or I stick it in one of my bags. I have a Fierce Reads pen which is a pretty nice pen that I got at North Texas Teen Book Festival.

Samplers:

More often than not, you probably have a hoard of little samplers hiding in your house. I do not like samplers because I would rather not read a section of a book before I can read the whole book. These could be good if you want to read a sneak peek of your favorite before it comes out, but they are not for me.

Stickers:

I might be in the minority on this one, but I do not like stickers. I have no place to put them. If you give me a sticker sheet, I will stick it in my swag binder (I forgot who started the swag binder trend) and forget about it. I have a few SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA stickers and, I think, some A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC ones too.

Posters:

Where do you put posters? I do not know where. In my bedroom? My study? And as an anime fan who wants wall scrolls, I would not have space if I had both book posters and anime wall scrolls.

I have a few, but I will not keep them. I used to have ones for THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and PAPER TOWNS, but the TFIOS ones got mildewy (which was disappointing) and the PAPER TOWNS one got ripped (it was huge, by the way.)

That said, my favorite poster is one signed by different authors from North Texas Teen Book Festival. It is a plain poster, but it has a lot of names on it such as Ryan Graudin and Julie Murphy.

When I graduate high school, most of my book swag will be given away. (I will keep some of my swag in my swag binder, but that will remain at home.)  If you like book swag, a swag binder is a great way to keep all of your favorite items in one place. Either way, I think we can all agree that free stuff is the best!