Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading


bed-reading-1Introduction to the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign


The not-for-profit Jolabokaflod Book Campaign expands on over seventy years of the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð (Christmas book flood). Established in 1944, when Iceland gained independence from Denmark, Jólabókaflóð is the name for the annual cycle of people buying books as Christmas gifts for family and friends before encouraging the recipients to start reading their new books after the main evening meal on Christmas Eve.

Icelandic culture has benefited from the Jólabókaflóð tradition. Here are a few facts that illustrate the point:

  • One in ten Icelanders writes a published book (BBC News Magazine)
  • 50 per cent fifty percent of Icelanders read more than eight books a year; 93% read more than one book a year (The Reykjavik Grapevine)
  • Reykjavík City Library, the largest public library in Iceland, welcomed 700,000 visitors in 2009 in a city of 200,000 people. Book loans totalled 1.2. million in the same year (Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature)

The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign retains the concept of buying, giving and reading books to mark Christmas, anniversaries, special events and festival occasions, without losing the rich heritage of its Icelandic origins.

At its heart, the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign comprises four main initiatives:

  • Recommendations: We promote a call for entries to our biannual Book Bulletin catalogues (for the Winter and Summer publishing seasons), to collate and publish book recommendations and personal/professional profiles, supported by crowdfunding projects at the Jolabokaflod patch at CrowdPatch
  • Crowdfunding: We celebrate, promulgate and encourage a host of individual generic marketing and reading promotions to help improve life in local communities by enabling project leaders to raise money via crowdfunding on the CrowdPatch platform (e.g. The Icelanders Cometh library promotion)
  • Events: We arrange a comprehensive programme of events throughout the calendar year to our nascent Jolabokaflod Book Campaign community
  • Offers: We introduce the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign community to goods and services on an opt-in basis

Here are the places where you can find the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign online:

The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign also has online presence on other platforms that will evolve organically over time, including:


Jólabókaflóð is an tradition that comprises both a book promotion and a reading campaign, revolving around the annual Christmas season.

The not-for-profit Jolabokaflod Book Campaign social enterprise retains these aspects of book marketing and active reading, which are unique to Jólabókaflóð.

Existing book campaigns do not merge these elements: in the UK, for example, World Book Day projects promote book sales and reading initiatives for children independently, World Book Night promotes reading for pleasure to adults, and Books Are My Bag is a national campaign run by the Booksellers Association to promote bricks-and-mortar bookshops.

All of these campaigns are highly effective generic promotions that remind people of the value of books and reading for pleasure, but they are focused on specific aspects of the book cycle, whether this is the marketing of published books or the encouraging of people to read.

The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign encompasses the whole seamless cycle on the journey of a book from a publishing house into the hands of a reader, and so adds to the mix of tools available to the book trade and to enthusiastic individuals to promote books and encourage reading.

Therefore, the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign adds value to promotions like World Book Day, World Book Night and Books Are My Bag. We invite people to run crowdfunding projects at CrowdPatch to mark events and milestones in their own campaigns, including the likes of World Book Day, World Book Night and Books Are My Bag.


The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign encourages everyone to become leaders of Jolabokaflod crowdfunding projects, whether the projects are run by book trade companies, organisations or individuals. Our invitation is open to anyone who is passionate about promoting books as gifts for reading (e.g. charities, teachers, authors, avid readers).

We also urge volunteers to come forward – to offer skills, experience, contacts and time to projects – to help to accelerate projects towards their target figures by the end-date deadlines.


The engine-room of the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign is online at CrowdPatch. Project leaders from anywhere in the world with a reliable connection to the internet can run literary and literacy campaigns at the Jolabokaflod patch that encourage the buying, giving and reading of books. Communities that are served by these crowdfunding campaigns can either be location-based in specific geographical areas or theme-based according to the interests of like-minded people in the group. Each project is ‘based’ at a geographical location that makes sense for each campaign, usually the home postcode of the respective project leaders.

The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign is promoted via two websites – (cultural hub) and (commercial hub) – and a full range of social media platforms.


The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign comprises two core periods of Book Bulletin activity with respect to book trade seasons for publishing new titles:

  • Winter: The First Day of Winter in the Old Nordic calendar to International Book Giving Day, designated by the United Nations. The next Book Bulletin winter catalogue is open to receive book recommendations from 21 October 2017 to 14 February 2018: a period embracing Christmas, Southern hemisphere annual holidays and Valentine’s Day, all fabulous occasions for the buying, giving and reading of books
  • Summer: The First Day of Summer in the Old Nordic calendar to International Literacy Day, designated by the United Nations. The next Book Bulletin Summer catalogue is open to receive book recommendations from 19 April to 8 September 2018: a period embracing summer holidays in the Northern hemisphere, a great opportunity to encourage people to buy, give and read books for pleasure, especially when on vacation

We shall develop the Christmas heart of Jólabókaflóð to include all anniversaries, special events and festivals. So, birthdays, historical dates and religious festivals of light (such as Diwali, Hanukkah and Eid al-Fitr) are all excellent occasions around which crowdfunding projects can be run.


The process of recommending books for inclusion in a catalogue is explained in the Book Bulletin section.

With respect to crowdfunding projects, once a project is agreed for the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign patch at CrowdPatch, project leaders set targets and time frames in which the required funds need to be raised. Project leaders aim to attract different levels of financial contribution in exchange for rewards. Also, volunteers can get involved at the click of a link to share knowledge, skills, talents, experience and contacts. Further publicity is gained by encourage people to spread the news about a project via social media.

As soon as a project reaches 25 per cent funding, project leaders can approach other patches (areas of special interests) with like-minded goals to ask the leaders of these patches to feature the project at their patch. By this means, many for potential contributors can be reached very quickly.

Contributors simply pay their money into the project leader’s PayPay account, in whatever currency the project leader has set up. People without PayPal accounts can pay project leaders director via bank transfer; contributions and rewards can then be added to CrowdPatch manually.

At the end of the fundraising phase, the project leader must make good on the rewards he or she has promised.

Project leaders can also hire members of the CrowdPatch community with relevant skills and experience by negotiating a mutually agreed fee that can be added to the target figure of funds that need to be raised.

Any book trade events set up by CrowdPatch members at Eventbrite can also be advertised and promoted in the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign patch.

How much?

Recommendations for the winter catalogue are paid for and collated via the current crowdfunding project, Book Bulletin: Winter 2017. The process is described in the introduction to the current catalogue.

The CrowdPatch platform is free to use. There is no registration fee and all the money raised by projects is kept by the leaders of those projects, as CrowdPatch does not take a percentage fee for administration. CrowdPatch is able to offer such compelling items because the platform itself is a not-for-profit social enterprise.

CrowdPatch supports itself by other means, such as running a freelance employment agency for members, offering platform and social media training support and brokering strategic advice.








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