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The Booksellers Association and Egmont are delighted to launch the BA/Egmont Eager Reader Project, a new project, which is part of the BA’s Diversity & Inclusiveness initiative.

The partnership is based on the far-reaching research work done by Egmont with Foyles (Print Matters More) and WH Smith (The Reading Magic Project), which proved the vital role of being read to and free choice in inspiring children to read for pleasure. The BA/Egmont Eager Readers Project will fund an initial eight bookshops to create a six-week summer reading initiative in their local communities. If the pilot is successful, the BA anticipates rolling out a wider programme later this year.

Booksellers will work with local schools to sign up local families with a child between the ages of seven and eleven, who is reluctant to read and with parents who find it difficult to make time to read to their child.

Each child will be given a £10 Book Token each week for six weeks and invited to choose any book they like from the participating bookshop. The parents will receive a £10 coffee shop voucher for a local cafe each week to enable the family to make an outing of the visit. In return, the parents will commit to reading to their children every day for 20 minutes, for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, the families will be given a ‘thank you’ Book Token.

The intention – proven by Egmont’s previous research projects – is that those six weeks sharing the experience of reading together will transform the parents’ attitudes to reading to their child and the children’s attitudes to reading for pleasure.

The project will launch formally at Egmont’s Annual Consumer and Market Insight event on 05 March 2019. Booksellers will be able to apply to be part of the independent bookshop pilot by submitting a brief application explaining why they and their local community should be chosen to participate, and what they would bring to the project.

Meryl Halls, Managing Director at the Booksellers Association, said: ‘We know how excited and inspired booksellers have been by the Egmont reading initiatives and we are delighted to partner with their innovative and energetic team to create a version of this project for local bookshops.  We are really looking forward to the results of the pilot this summer.’

Cally Poplak, Managing Director at Egmont, said: ‘Egmont UK is thrilled that the BA is adopting a bespoke version of our Print Matters More project. Independent booksellers, with their passion, knowledge and strong local connections, are perfect partners to help turn more families on to reading for pleasure.’