Bookworms, Take Note! Here’s Where You Can Go On A Blind Date With A Book
Set aside your dating apps because we’ve found the perfect Valentine’s date for you!
If you’ve passed by quaint storefronts and independent book shops on your travels (or have done so vicariously on Tumblr or Pinterest), then the concept of going on a blind date with a book may no longer be new to you. Wrapped in brown paper packages tied up with string (were you singing it in your head, too?), books are concealed to remind readers of the age-old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover. Instead, brief descriptions—key phrases hinting at the books’ genres and storylines—are written on the packaging. You’d be surprised to find that a few simple words are powerful enough to lure you in!
Originated in 2013 in Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Sydney, the simple yet captivating concept came to fruition when one of their staff members decided to suggest under-the-radar books to customers looking for recommendations. Wrapped in brown paper with clues written in front, the idea was an instant hit, and this later grew into a selection of books across a wide range of genres. They’ve since branched out, making this available online at http://blinddatewithabook.com, for €7.99 apiece—perfect for gifts for yourself or for loved ones!
Not everyone is willing to pay costly international shipping fees—so I’m sure many of you will be happy to find that you can go on a blind date with a book right here in Manila! If you’re familiar with secondhand bookstore chain Books For Less, you’ll love bookstore-slash-coffeeshop Biblio—its homey yet stylish younger sister, with branches across several malls in Manila. On a visit to one of their stores, I was excited to find a selection of brown paper-wrapped books at their storefront, right under a sign marked “Blind Date with a Book” and “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover.” Each book is sold for Php 298.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Mark Fider, Biblio’s managing director, about their ongoing blind date with a book promo. “The team thought it would be a fun idea to promote the blind date books for readers that don't have a date and might want to enjoy the company of a book this coming Valentine's day,” he laughs.
How did you come up with the idea of making the blind date with a book concept available at Biblio?
Bookstores we've visited while traveling, mostly independent ones, had the blind date books on display, and we thought it was a fun product we could bring to the stores.
How long has it been since you first made this promo available?
The blind date with a book product line has been an offering since we opened in 2016. It is one of our most popular products. Promotions run every Valentine's season.
How are the titles chosen for this?
Our book specialists and team members pick books that are bestsellers, unusual finds, what we might find personally interesting, and even books we or our customers have read before and want to share with others.
What is the genre selection for this promo like?
Genres are usually bestseller fiction, mystery, romance, and thrillers although they can really include a wider variety depending on the available selection. There are no children's books and coffee table books.
Is this available in all of Biblio’s branches?
Yes, they are available in all branches: UP Town Center, Ayala 30th, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Ayala Malls Feliz, Circuit Makati, and Alabang Town Center.
Photos from @authorkking and Gabriella Salud