Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

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The First Days of Summer: Sumarbokaflod campaign launch

Today – 1 May – is May Day, a celebration of the seasons changing, especially in Celtic festivals like Beltane as well in modern times as International Workers’ Day, an occasion to celebrate workers’ rights, and International Day of the Icelandic Horse.

In Iceland, this seasonal tradition is slightly earlier: the First Day of Summer (sumardagurinn fyrsti) is an annual public holiday held on the first Thursday after 18 April. This year, the First Day of Summer was marked on 25 April 2019. The occasion is marked around the country with parades, outdoor entertainment (including sporting events and children’s games) and free access to museums and exhibitions. This custom derives from the nation’s former use of the Old Norse calendar, which divided the year into two seasons: winter and summer. Years were considered less important than seasons: people saw their age in terms of the number of winters they had lived.

Here at Jolabokaflod CIC, we are celebrating these First Days of Summer by promoting our current Book Bulletin catalogue, full of book recommendation ideas for taking on holiday over the next few months, and to highlight our crowdfunding campaign for you to get your book title suggestions into the Book Bulletin – along with information about you and any project or issue you would like to promote – at a starting contribution of £10.00.

We shall be active online over the summer publicising all things book-related of interest to readers and book-trade professions. We call this campaign Sumarbokaflod (Sumarbókaflóðið, the summer book flood) to both name-check the long-standing Jólabókaflóðið Christmas tradition and to remind everyone that books make for great gifts at any time of year, especially for taking on vacation during our summer breaks.


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The Advent of #FutureBook17

The Bookseller’s showcase conference – FutureBook 2017 – was held in London, England, today. According to the trade journal of record, ‘FutureBook brings together leading thinkers in publishing, retail, editorial, writing, marketing and tech, along with speakers from other industries.’

What better occasion is there, on this first day of the Advent calendar, to open a window on the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign for 2017?

The Book Bulletin will evolve between today and International Book Giving Day (14 February 2019) into a rich collection of your recommendations and favourite books. Get involved by reading our advice for the book trade and by contributing to our Book Bulletin 2018 crowdfunding campaign.





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Jolabokaflod visits the Frankfurt Book Fair

The Jolabokaflod Book Campaign is about to announce itself to the global book trade.

We are in Frankfurt between 11-15 October 2017 to tell the world of books about our take on the Icelandic Christmas book flood tradition.

We are attending Frankfurter Buchmesse (the Frankfurt Book Fair) to introduce the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to every country exhibiting at this year’s event – the biggest book expo in the world – and to collect book recommendations for our next Book Bulletin.

The Frankfurt Book Fair describes itself as ‘the most important international trade fair for content, the centre of the international media world and a major cultural event. Nowhere else in the world does the publishing and media industry show itself from a more diverse, innovative and international side than during these five days in October.’

Our new catalogue and Book Bulletin 2018 crowdfunding campaign will launch on the First Day of Winter in the Old Nordic calendar (21 October 2017) and conclude on International Book Giving Day (14 February 2019).

So many titles from which to choose; the time draws near for deciding which ones to buy to give to loved ones for them to read this Christmas – and which ones you fancy treating yourself to get hold of and read.


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What Jólabókaflóð means to me: Hallgrímur Helgason

hallgriemur-helgason-2016-ljosm-gassiHere is the second in our Icelandic Perspectives series of reflections by famous writers and prominent public figures on their memories, thoughts, opinions  and anecdotes about the long-standing national tradition of Jólabókaflóð.

The second writer to feature in the series is award-winning novelist, playwright, columnist and painter, Hallgrímur Helgason.

Read Hallgrímur’s personal take on the Christmas Book Flood – ‘Book lives matter‘ – and compare his thoughts with his compatriots’ reflections as they are published in the Icelandic Perspectives section of this website.

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What Jólabókaflóð means to me: Gerður Kristný

gerdur-kristny-1Here is the first article in our Icelandic Perspectives series of reflections by famous writers and prominent public figures on their memories, thoughts, opinions  and anecdotes about the long-standing national tradition of Jólabókaflóð.

The first writer to feature in the series is award-winning poet, playwright, biographer and novelist, Gerður Kristný.

Read Gerður’s personal take on the Christmas Book Flood – ‘Deck the Halls with Books‘ – and compare her thoughts with her compatriots’ reflections as they are published in the Icelandic Perspectives section of this website.

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New end date as Melvyn Bragg endorses The Icelanders Cometh

Feel the buzz

After a successful London Book Fair that captured the imaginations of publishers and journalists alike, it became clear that time was needed for The Icelanders Cometh buzz to build and go viral, to optimise the money to be raised via crowdfunding (way beyond the World Book Night figure of £2304.16) for UK libraries to spend on books by Icelandic authors translated into English.

News update

Now endorsed by broadcaster, novelist and Parliamentarian, Melvyn Bragg, the new end date for The Icelanders Cometh is 17 June 2016, Icelandic National Day, to mark the anniversary of Iceland’s formal independence from Denmark in 1944.

Celebration videos

These two pieces of news were first mentioned in two video messages recorded at the Café Royal by Christopher Norris, Founder and Curator of the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign, to mark three auspicious occasions: World Book Night, World Book and Copyright Day, and the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespare.

Watch them here:

Summary for social media (02:21)
Extended version (04:35)

Get involved: let’s do this!

We have until 17 June 2016 to make the campaign happen. Here is what you can do to take part by visiting The Icelanders Cometh in the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign patch at CrowdPatch:

  • Contribute Spend money on a reward and reap the benefit of a range of digital media packages
  • Volunteer Tell us what you would like to do to help us raise as much money as we can
  • Share Spread the news about the campaign to friends, family and the wider world via social media

You can reach Christopher Norris either via The Icelanders Cometh profile at CrowdPatch or via email or phone: contact details here.

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Let’s get the Icelanders to come for World Book Night

Map; IslandiaLet’s do this!

You have until World Book Night to get stuck into The Icelanders Cometh and help to make it happen.

We need to raise at least £2304.16 by 23 April 2016 as a gift to UK libraries to spend on books by Icelandic authors published in English.

Here’s how you can get involved …


Give us your money in exchange for a range of rewards, that range from virtual hugs to advertising opportunities.

If you have a project or company to publicise, or you would simply like to get your name out there (e.g. to a future employer), there are plenty of digital marketing perks as reward for your financial contribution.

Donating to The Icelanders Cometh could be your breakthrough, a change to get yourself or your project to the next level.

Simply click on the ‘Contribute’ button at The Icelanders Cometh page at CrowdPatch, choose a reward and send your money via PayPal.

All the money you contribute – 100 per cent – will be spent on books for libraries. Neither Jolabokaflod nor CrowdPatch receives any fees for running the crowdfunding campaign

Thank you in advance for your contribution!


We’d love you you to help in practical ways to enthuse people about being a part of making The Icelanders Cometh happen.

We’d be delighted for you to do any of the following – and anything else that comes to mind – to help us to raise as much money as we can and to get the buzz going:

  • write a few emails
  • make some suggestions
  • use your skills and talents
  • develop your experience

We’d love to hear from you. Simply click on the ‘Volunteer’ button at The Icelanders Cometh page at CrowdPatch and tell us what you would like to do.

Get stuck in!


We hope you love The Icelanders Cometh enough to spread the news about the project via social media.

Simply click on the ‘Share’ button at The Icelanders Cometh page at CrowdPatch and then tell your world.

Like to learn more?

Read full details about The Icelanders Cometh in this press release written for the London Book Fair 2016.

If you’re a journalist, blogger, teacher or researcher, please check out the Press area to find what you need.

If you have any questions, please get in touch:


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Merry Jolabokaflod – get involved with a new grassroots, interactive generic book campaign

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … at least according to the book trade calendar, with Super Thursday already in distant memory. But how do we pay tribute to the festive season as an industry in the UK, apart from the publication of the Booksellers Association Christmas Books Catalogue, the giving of National Book Tokens as presents, and the marketing efforts of individual companies (such as Quercus for Christmas 2014)?

We can learn to celebrate Christmas (and other ‘Festivals of Light’) the Icelandic way, and help to promote books into the bargain. With more books published and read per citizen than anywhere else in the world (BBC News Magazine), our friends in the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ clearly know how to get people reading!*

This is where Jólabókaflóð comes in.

Every year, virtually all the new books in Iceland are published in a narrow window in the run up to Christmas. The season starts with the autumn publication of a new books’ catalogue – the bókatíðindi – and ends with the giving of presents on 24 December. Tradition has it that everyone in Iceland spends Christmas Eve reading.

How fabulous is that!

The whole festive rush, from publication dates to getting books into readers’ hands, is called Jólabókaflóð, which translates roughly in English to ‘Christmas book flood’.

There is no reason why the Jólabókaflóð phenomenon should remain a well-kept secret in Iceland. A series of digital platforms were launched on 16 November 2015 to make it happen here, too, via an article at BookMachine and via an RSA Bounce event in London

Here is the plan to start to make an Anglicised version – ‘Jolabokaflod’ – a fixture in the hearts and minds of book lovers like us in the UK and beyond. We can have fun at the same time.

In the run up to the festive season in 2015, join in pledging to get into the spirit of celebrating Jolabokaflod by doing the following:

  1. Buy books to give to your nearest and dearest as presents.
  2. Encourage your loved ones to start reading your gift books during the Christmas holiday season.
  3. Copy and paste the Jolabokaflod name and slogan – as shown below – into your email signatures between now and Christmas:
    Jolabokaflod | Buy * Give * Read | Books are not just for Christmas
  4. Mention Jolabokaflod in your emails and on social media. Use the hashtag #Jolabokaflod whenever you chat about the campaign online. Name-drop Jolabokaflod liberally at Twitter (@Jolabokaflod), Facebook (/jolabokaflod), etc., ‘Like’ the campaign wherever it exists online, and encourage your family, friends and followers to do the same.
  5. Download and print out this Jolabokaflod bookplate PDF to insert into the books you give as gifts over the Christmas period this year.

The core message of Jolabokaflod is a three-stage invitation for everyone to ‘Buy’, ‘Give’ and ‘Read’. Jolabokaflod is a generic retail and reading campaign rolled into one.

For Christmas 2016, here is how you can play an active part in taking Jolabokaflod from a trickle to a flood. Take control and be a star in your local community and networks:

  1. Run a crowdfunding campaign, join one as a volunteer and/or donate money at the Jolabokaflod CrowdPatch for an event or project to help disadvantaged people and vulnerable groups in your local neighbourhood.
  1. Champion Jolabokaflod in your place of work or study to encourage everyone to get involved. This is a campaign where everyone can join in.
  1. Tell me your Jolabokaflod news, write for the various branded websites, add comments on blogs, make contacts, and share stories on social media.

Here are the places where you can find Jolabokaflod online:

Join in the conversation, get actively involved and share your enthusiasm for Jolabokaflod both online and face-to-face.

Get in touch with Jolabokaflod via email at to share your news, stories, photos, videos, suggestions, comments and opportunities about the campaign.

Let’s have fun with the Jolabokaflod campaign this year and next – as has already been said, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.