Nov 18 2013
Spotlight on Goodness: Chronicle Books Give Books Campaign
Post by melissa fenlon

Chronicle Books Give Books Campaign

San Francisco book publisher Chronicle Books is spreading holiday magic this year by pledging to donate 10,000 books to children in need. Give Books is their community-driven campaign to encourage people to share a love of reading and support local bookstores during the holidays.

They are using social media to spread the word and help them achieve their goal. It’s simple. Each time #GiveBooks is tweeted, the Give Books image is pinned on Pinterest, the online pledge is signed, or customers purchase a children’s book at their retail store, a book is donated to First Book, a national literacy nonprofit. Currently, they are halfway to meeting their goal.

Guinevere de la Mare, Chronicle Books Senior Community Manager explained the history behind this campaign. “For years, Chronicle Books has organized a large holiday marketing campaign to help sell our books. Like all retailers, we rely on the end-of-the-year shopping frenzy to help our business. But we also place a high value on social responsibility. Giving back is an integral part of our corporate culture, and we have a long history of working in our community to make a difference.”

She took over the management of Chronicle Books holiday campaign last year. “When it came time to brainstorm ideas, I wanted to take a step back from the rampant commercialism that was steadily driving the “Christmas creep” back to October.”

So she began to organize a community-based campaign that would refocus the collective priority on the act of giving versus buying. de la Mare also wanted to do something to help support independent bookstores, many of which had been struggling to stay afloat in the digital age. She loosely based Give Books on the “Buy Homemade” movement that took off in 2007. The Chronicle Books team went full steam ahead, asking bloggers and authors to write about books they were giving for the holidays, they interviewed local booksellers and partnered with one of their favorite artists, Julia Rothman to create the logo badge that people could share.

“The key to the campaign, which was fully supported by our executive staff, was that we were not telling people to buy Chronicle Books; we were encouraging them to buy ANY books in the larger service of a shared love of reading and a desire to support indie bookstores,” says de la Mare.

The response to the program was overwhelmingly positive. Because of the success last year, de la Mare decided to take it to the next level this holiday season by partnering with First Book. They launched a new website where people can sign up for the online pledge. Illustrator Gemma Correll created the adorable new logo for the campaign. (Who doesn’t love a cat reading a book?)

This combination of efforts has helped propel the Give Books campaign to the next level de la Mare envisioned.

And there’s more room for the campaign to grow. de la Mare would love to see every book publisher get on board with Give Books, particularly the charitable donation piece… “so that every family who can’t afford a book could have one under the tree.”

Kofi Annan quote on literacy

The dreaming doesn’t stop there for her. For the last two years, President Obama has kicked off the holiday shopping season at a bookstore. “I’d love to see the White House tweet the #GiveBooks pledge. Heck, I’d love to see #GiveBooks trending on Twitter. How cool would that be?” she asks.

Chronicle Books believes in helping their community to make a difference. “I hope this campaign gets people to think more about what’s important this time of year: helping people in need, the difference between giving and buying, and the value of supporting local shops and bookstores.”

Help donate books to children in need by visiting the Give Books website, sign the online pledge, tweet the #GiveBooks mission and pin the logo of the irresistible cat. It’s a simple act that can help ignite a child’s imagination.

How else can you get involved? de la Mare tells us how else people can get involved in this campaign:

Obviously I want people to take the Give Books pledge and spread the word on their social networks. But there’s a lot more you can do. Many independent bookstores have their own charitable campaigns during the holidays. Green Apple Books in San Francisco and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. are two examples of stores where you can purchase a book at a discount to donate to a charity. Many more have similar programs. Walk in and ask. You can also make a donation directly to First Book on their website, And there are dozens of other literacy programs that you can help. Project Night Night donates a book, security blanket, and stuffed animal to more than 25,000 homeless children each year. Raising a Reader does great work with low-income schools. Your local library is another good place to start. They can often recommend programs that accept donations or volunteers. A little help can go a long way.

See our post for fabulous books for your kids – An Educator’s 10 favorite classic books for pre-schoolers

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