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Bookshops launch ‘Civilised Saturday’ in response to Black Friday mayhem

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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Bookshops across the UK are coming together to launch the first ever Civilised Saturday, a day of peaceful book reading, engaging conversation and prosecco drinking, as an antidote to the chaos of Black Friday.

So far, around 100 bookshops have signed up to the initiative on Saturday 28 November, which is being spearheaded by the Booksellers Association (the trade body founded to promote retail bookselling in the UK).

Alan Staton at the Booksellers Association told The Guardian that Black Friday was “the antithesis” of what booksellers stand for. “It’s about discounts, it’s about a feeding frenzy, so we said why don’t we have a ‘Civilised Saturday’, which shows that what booksellers offer is an informed, civilised environment for people to make purchases.

"It may be for people who have gone through Black Friday and need some R&R afterwards, or for those who shun it for a more civilised alternative.”

Booksellers are claiming the day after Black Friday

Booksellers are claiming the day after Black Friday

With the promise of ‘civilised shopping, great books, great people’, book stores across the country are offering services such as book curating and wrapping, free glasses of prosecco, sandwiches and cakes. The Edinburgh Bookshop will also have a singing butler on hand. 

Some retailers are offering discounts on books but in moderation. As Rik McShane, retail director at Waterstones, tells The Bookseller, "Black Friday is interesting because it does bring people onto the high street. We don't do a huge amount to change our shops because we think coming into our bookshops should be a relaxing experience and a distraction from the madness of the high street."

Lesslie Oliver from The Bookworm in Selkirk, Scottish Borders, said: "Last year Black Friday was all a little bit bonkers, wasn't it? I don't think the Black Friday proposition - everything sold at a huge discount - is really the right proposition for books and book lovers. I think Civilised Saturday works much better for bookshops and our customers. I think it is a lovely idea."

Black Friday (27 November) this year is set to be the biggest shopping day in the UK with sales expected to pass the £1billion mark (last year £810m was spent). But booksellers and avid readers alike have been tweeting their support for the alternative event this week.

Another reason to spend an entire day in a book shop is fine with us...

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Here's our pick of the most interesting Civilised Saturday events across the UK

Book-ish in Crickhowell: Take part in a competition to see who can walk the furthest down the high street with a book on their head.

The Edinburgh Bookshop in Edinburgh: Expect drinks, canapes, a singing butler and staff dressed in cocktail outfits, complete with evening gloves.

Burway books in Church Stretton: Dig into mince pies & mulled wine (non-alcoholic) and live carol singing.

The Bookshop Kibworth, in Leicestershire: Sit down in a green velvet armchair and get your 'literary prescription' for common ailments, from depression to a stubbed toe.

Wenlock Books in Shropshire: Listen to music from a local musician while feasting on a “very civilised” afternoon tea.

Drake the bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees: Have a go at 'Blind Date Books', get a complimentary '12 teas of Christmas advent calendar' (for first 20 purchases) and enter the book raffle. 

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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