Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading


bed-reading-1Introduction to Jolabokaflod CIC


The not-for-profit social enterprise Jolabokaflod CIC expands on over seventy-five years of the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóðið (the Christmas book flood). Established in 1944, when Iceland gained independence from Denmark, Jólabókaflóðið 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 Jólabókaflóðið 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)

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

At its heart, campaigns run by Jolabokaflod CIC comprise four main elements:

  • Recommendations: We promote a call for entries to our Book Bulletin catalogue (featuring titles 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 will start to arrange a comprehensive programme of events throughout the calendar year to our nascent Jolabokaflod CIC community
  • Offers: We will introduce the Jolabokaflod CIC community to goods and services on an opt-in basis

Here are the places where you can find Jolabokaflod CIC online:

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


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

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

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.

Jolabokaflod CIC 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, Jolabokaflod CIC 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.


Jolabokaflod CIC 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 Jolabokaflod CIC 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.

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


In a typical yearly cycle, Jolabokaflod CIC 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, which encourages people to exchange books on Valentine’s Day: 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: 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

The current cycle for the Book Bulletin catalogue started on 1 July 2019 and will conclude on 30 June 2020 (World Social Media Day). The catalogue is accompanied by crowdfunding campaigns for the Winter and Summer seasons – currently the Book Bulletin 2018 crowdfunding campaign – which allows Jolabokaflod CIC to raise funds to promote the ‘Christmas book flood’ tradition to the global book trade – especially at the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs – and to establish the concept with people in the UK and around the world.

We shall also develop the Christmas heart of Jólabókaflóðið 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 CIC 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 of its target 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 accounts can pay contributions on the PayPal platform using their debit or credit cards or else pay into a project’s bank account via electronic transfer (the numeric value of such offline contributions for purchasing rewards are added to the the CrowdPatch project 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 catalogue are paid for and collated via the current crowdfunding project, Book Bulletin 2018. 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.









3 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Reykjavik: Literature Capital of the World - On The Write Course

  2. Pingback: Joyous Jólabókaflod: the Icelandic Tradition – FallenStar Stories

  3. Pingback: Happy Jolabokaflod! – Reay Jespersen

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