High Five is returning for another year – how can we make it work even better for you?
Calling all independent bookshops taking part in Independent Bookshop Week: we're bringing back High Five for Bookshops again this year and are keen to get your feedback on whether there's anything more/better we can be doing to help you make the most of the campaign.
As a reminder, bookshops participating in IBW each receive a book of 100 vouchers to hand out to customers, and each entitles the recipient to claim a £5/€5 National Book Token.
Customers tell us which bookshop gave them the voucher, so when we email their e-Gift card to them, we remind them that they can spend it with you.
Whether there are any additional POS items or digital assets which would be useful, or if you have comments on the vouchers themselves, or any ideas/feedback at all, we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch with Lisa at email@example.com by end of play Wednesday 25th May.
The Jhalak Prize and Jhalak Children's & Young Adult Prize shortlists have been announced!
Six books are shortlisted for each of this year's prizes, with independent houses having published half of the selected titles. The lists showcase a wide range of genres – biography, graphic memoir, narrative fiction, poetry, essays and picture books. Taking in identity, grief, mental illness, heritage, family, gender, class and race, the titles explore a myriad of themes through inventive narratives.
Both shortlists, including ISBNs, are below, and all titles are in stock at Gardners.
You can also download printable A4 posters and shareable assets for your social channels.
Don't forget to tag @jhalakprize and @book_tokens so we can share your social activity too!
Encourage National Book Tokens in January and February with our prize draw
We're driving footfall to high street bookshops this winter by giving anyone who spends their National Book Token by the end of February the chance to win £500/€500 in cash! The campaign is supported by ECRM and social messaging, and runs in conjunction with Books Are My Bag's social campaign to encourage bookshop visitors during the quieter months of the year.
Customers can enter at nationalbooktokens.com/spend-and-win between now and 28th February.
- request instore POS if you haven't already received it
- download social banners to share on your channels (don't forget to tag us!)
- tell any customer spending a National Book Token between now and the end of February, and make sure you give their National Book Tokens gift card back at the end of the transaction so they have all the details they need to enter the draw!
Download social banners
December 2021: Customer service during the holidays
For any support issues or queries during the holidays, please refer to our Customer Service opening hours and out-of-hours contact details below.
Please note we’re closed on the following bank holiday/weekend dates:
25th, 26th, 27th & 28th December, 1st, 2nd & 3rd January
On 29th, 30th and 31st December – please email firstname.lastname@example.org
On 4th January, National Book Tokens Customer Services resume normal operating hours
Retailer helpline number (urgent bookseller queries):
Calling from the UK: 0844 912 0397
Calling from the Republic of Ireland: 18008 560 74
High Five ends on Sunday 19th December
Remember, the last date that customers can claim their free £5/€5 National Book Token is Sunday 19th December. If you still have flyers remaining, please hand them out before the cut-off date, and don't forget to tell customers they have a limited time to claim. You can discard any unused flyers after this date.
If you or your customers have any questions, you can find answers in our FAQs document below.
Read the FAQs
September 2021: Our new gift card range for 2021 has arrived!
It’s a bumper year for National Book Tokens, with a whopping eight new Sterling gift cards, and four new Euro gift cards, joining our other bestselling designs – so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to creating the perfect range for your customers and their lucky recipients.
From a magical new Chris Riddell card and introducing the adventurous Vi Spy for younger readers, to new cards for celebrating different occasions throughout the year, there’s something for readers everywhere.
Order our new gift cards here.
June 2021: High Five for Bookshops is back!
Our big giveaway returns for another year, celebrating independent bookshops and all who shop in them. In 2020, hundreds of bookshops rewarded their loyal customers with a free £5/€5 National Book Token, driving footfall and customer loyalty during challenging times. With the return to the high street earlier this year, the campaign seeks to give a much-needed boost to booksellers and customers alike, with up to £360,000 being given away by local bookshops to their most valued customers. Participating bookshops will receive their special vouchers in the post before Independent Bookshop Week.
View some Frequently Asked Questions below, or download banners to share on your social channels. Don't forget to include the specific details of your offer. Plus - why not upload your offers and events to Caboodle, so they can be shared with booklovers near you?
Read the FAQs
Download shareable social banners
April 2021: New assets for your bookshop
Once you’ve reopened, let your customers know that their National Book Tokens gift cards (and e-Gift cards) can be spent with you.. Download a selection of social media assets here.
February 2021: Sign up now to support the Jhalak Prize
The Jhalak Prize, approaching its fifth year, and the newly launched Jhalak Children's & YA Prize, seek to support and celebrate books by British and British Resident writers of colour. We're delighted to be partnering with the prize to help bookshops promote these titles.
To do this we'll provide you with POS for the 13 April shortlist announcement, plus advance list information and social media assets for the longlists, shortlists and winners. We'll also be working with the Jhalak Prize as they expand their Books to Readers programme. You can find more information about Books to Readers and about how to promote the Jhalak Prize instore and online here.
If you'd like to request a POS pack for the 13th April shortlist announcement, or to register your interest in the Books to Readers programme, please email email@example.com
Find out more about the Jhalak Prize here.
January 2021: Announcing our Newcomer of the Year 2021!
Darling Reads in West Yorkshire and Maldon Books in Essex have been announced as the joint winners of the National Book Tokens Newcomer of the Year 2021, now in its second year.
This award is given to new bookshops based on how they've welcomed National Book Tokens customers – whether those choosing new books to buy with their National Book Tokens or those looking to buy National Book Tokens for their favourite readers – to their bookshop during their first year of trading.
"We're absolutely over the moon to have won this award from National Book Tokens. We've worked really hard over the past few months to establish ourselves in our local community and, despite everything, continue to supply our wonderful customers with books." – Asher Woolford and Laura Iveson from Darling Reads
"Opening a bookshop in such a difficult and uncertain year has had its challenges, but our customers and the local community have continually kept us going, and for that we will always be grateful. The support we have received has been phenomenal, and we're so thankful to everyone who has shown us such kindness from the very beginning and throughout the ups and downs of 2020." – Olivia Rosenthall, owner of Maldon Books
This year we found it impossible to pick just one winner. Even for established bookshops, just being open last year was a challenge. For a new business to find new customers and establish itself in the heart of its community in 2020 is an incredible feat.
Find out more about the award here.
January 2021: Assets for your Bookshop
Let your customers know that their National Book Tokens gift cards (and e-Gift cards) can be spent with your shop remotely – you just need the gift card number (and the PIN for security purposes)! Download a selection here. We've also created a new /spend-local page on our website to let customers know how they can use their National Book Tokens in lockdown. We'll promote this to customers via our website, social media, and newsletters.
July 2020: The range of National Book Tokens gift cards for 2020 are now ready to order
This year’s designs sit perfectly alongside our existing gift cards as ideal presents for every booklover and occasion.
For gifting season, we’ve created three versions of Coralie Bickford-Smith’s popular festive design ‘Merry Christmas’ – emphasised in beautiful silver foil – is written in English, Welsh, or Irish. For children’s birthdays, we have a fun and modern Happy Birthday design. For all occasions, our stylish gold-foiled Penguin Classics design is a luxury gift for adults, while our booky design by this year's World Book Day competition winner, 10-year-old Samia, is perfect for younger readers.
Order our new gift cards here.
June 2020: We have improved our online orders system
We have been working hard to improve the online ordering system for booksellers, and to make it easier to track your own orders.
Simply log in to the NBT Bookseller Zone using your BA Account Number) and BA password, go to 'Track Orders' and enter your order number (this will have been emailed to you either from firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) to see the status of your order.
If you have any questions, or would like some support with ordering gift cards and POS online, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
May 2020: High Five for bookshops returns!
Last year's High Five saw hundreds of bookshops up and down the country rewarding their customers with National Book Tokens e-Gift cards to spend instore.
This year High Five will roll out in tandem with bookselling's return to the high street. When your doors reopen and customers are ready to browse and shop again, National Book Tokens will give away thousands of free £5/€5 eGift cards for loyal bookshop customers. These bounceback voucher codes can be used as a reward for the first customers through the door, as a thank you to loyal customers, or in any other way that makes sense for your shop.
We're extending the redemption date as well, to give your customers the flexibility to return at their own pace. We'll be in touch to let you know when your High Five flyers will arrive. You can read the full FAQs for High Five here.
May 2020: Woo! – new plug-in for booksellers
Over the last few weeks, we’ve fast-tracked development of a new plug-in allowing booksellers using the WooCommerce platform to accept National Book Tokens online.
We’re working hard to get it ready in double quick time and to make it as easy to set up as possible. More information to follow.
May 2020: Our schools prize has begun – £5,000 of National Book Tokens for one lucky school's library
Even though schools are closed, our schools prize draw is back! We're giving one lucky school £5,000/€5,000 of National Book Tokens to spend on books for their library, enough to buy hundreds of books when they reopen. Plus, whoever nominates the winning school will be entered in a draw to take home £100/€120 of National Book Tokens for themselves.
Tell your customers to nominate their schools, and download images and flyers to share on social media and in your newsletters. The more nominations, the greater the chance of winning!
Nominations are open until 31 July 2020. Visit nationalbooktokens.com/schools to learn more.
April 2020: Free technical advice for booksellers – Reminder
Just to remind you that we’ve secured some of Dan Fridd’s time to provide independent booksellers free technical advice or help to find ways to work effectively during the current shut-down.
Dan has recently left the Bertline team to join Above the Treeline and jointly owns Book Bugs and Dragon Tales bookshop in Norwich.
Dan has expertise across a number of specifically relevant systems – including wholesaler EPOS, web technologies, social media, website design, database design, EDI transactions, FTP, stock taking & Stock control, report writing, Excel & all Office applications, video conferencing, supplier ordering integrations, Book Tokens, Batch, Pubeasy, Nielsen services, wholesaler websites, CCTV systems, most retail hardware and pretty much anything else you want to throw at him.
He can be contacted by email at email@example.com
Please note that due to his other commitments, Dan is available to offer this service one day a week – this will be spread across days – not all replies will be immediate.
March 2020: National Book Tokens – Payment Update
To support our independent bookshop customers with immediate effect, we will be extending payment terms to those who have a debit balance showing on their account.
At March month end, and each month end until the end of July 2020, with any debit balance at that time to be paid in the August payment run.
Any credit balances at month end will continue to be paid within 15 days of the month end.
If you have any questions relating to this or any other finance related queries, please contact Tom Catton – firstname.lastname@example.org
January 2020: The Portobello Bookshop named National Book Tokens Newcomer of the Year
The Portobello Bookshop in Edinburgh has been announced as the inaugural winner of the National Book Tokens Newcomer of the Year award.
Located in Edinburgh's seaside suburb of Portobello, The Portobello Bookshop opened its doors in July 2019, bringing an independent bookshop to the thriving local community for the first time.
National Book Tokens has selected The Portobello Bookshop as the inaugural recipient of its new annual award in light of its first year’s sales performance.
Jack Clark, founder of The Portobello Bookshop writes: “We're really thrilled to have won this award from National Book Tokens. As a new bookshop we couldn't be happier with the response we've had from our local community, and from the industry in general, and this award is really encouraging. National Book Tokens are a really valuable scheme and we've been extremely pleased to see so many readers visiting the shop this January to spend ones they received for Christmas”
“As the BA membership figures attest, high street bookshop numbers are back in growth and the sector is attracting energetic, creative and entrepreneurial business owners” Says Alex de Berry Managing Director of National Book Tokens. “We’ve decided to recognise the first-year successes in the sector by creating this award. The Portobello Bookshop is a fantastic addition to the flourishing Edinburgh bookselling scene, operating as a general bookshop with a strong event programme and passionate and experienced staff.”
The Portobello Bookshop wins a luxury food and wine hamper to share amongst the team, a trophy, and publicity via National Book Tokens’ local marketing and customer rewards programme, Caboodle.
View the public announcement here.
IMPORTANT CHANGE to password setting
Please note, to improve security our gift card web systems are changing and will soon require all users to change password every 90 days.
All passwords should be a mix of upper and lower case letters and numbers and a minimum of 8 characters (special characters are not a requirement).
If you have not recently changed your password, please change it NOW.
This applies to all users of any of the following National Book Tokens web services:
Please note, you only need to change the password on one web service and it will automatically be applied across all three. (This change does not apply to the National Book Tokens card ordering site).
Please see the guide for further help should you need it.
We advise you to change your password Mon-Thursday 9am – 4pm to ensure we can provide helpdesk support if needed.
If you have any problems changing your password please email us at email@example.com quoting your BA Account Number and User ID.
June 2019: High Five for Bookshops in association with Independent Bookshop Week
High Five for Bookshops is a national giveaway designed to reward the loyal customers of IBW-participating booksellers. It will see up to £225,000 of National Book Tokens being given to people visiting participating bookshops in the UK and Ireland this June.
In your Independent Bookshop Week POS kit, you’ll find 100 flyers, each printed with a unique code. This code allows the recipient to download and print a £5/€5 National Book Tokens eGift card – a free gift for 100 of your customers!
Below is some more information about the giveaway, which should hopefully answer any questions you might have. If not, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Book Tokens Customer Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 020 7421 4640.
High Five for Bookshops - some frequently asked questions
How does the giveaway benefit me?
Not only does the giveaway give you a lovely reward for your most loyal customers, helping you to promote and celebrate Independent Bookshop Week, it should also encourage customers to return to your shop after IBW has finished in order to spend their £5/€5 eGift card.
Who can I give the flyers to?
The £5/€5 eGift card is intended as a free gift for your customers. Children under the age of 16 won’t be able to claim, and only one £5/€5 eGift card will be available to claim per person, but other than that it’s totally up to you how you decide to reward your local customers.
Here are a few ideas to get you started. You could give flyers to…
… anyone attending an instore event
… the members of your book group
… customers signed up to your loyalty scheme
… the first 100 people in your shop during Independent Bookshop Week
… a hand-selected group of your favourite customers as you see them throughout the week
When can I start giving out the flyers?
The High Five for Bookshops campaign launches at the start of IBW, on 15th June, so we recommend you don’t give out any flyers until that date as customers will be unable to claim their free National Book Tokens before then.
Can I tell my customers about the giveaway on social media?
It’s up to you how you distribute the flyers, and you may wish to tell customers in order to encourage them to visit your shop and receive their free gift. To help you spread the word, you can upload your offers and events to Caboodle, and/or download some banners from the Bookshop Resources page of the Independent Bookshop Week site to use on your social media channels. As with any communication, make sure you include any relevant information, such as ‘limited to the first 100 customers only’, ‘terms and conditions apply’, etc. Equally, should you wish to give the gifts as a surprise, there’s no need to tell anyone!
How do customers get their free National Book Tokens after I’ve given them the flyers?
The instructions for downloading the free eGift card are printed on the flyers. When a customer receives a flyer from you, they just need to visit nationalbooktokens.com/highfive and enter their unique code – alternatively, they can scan the QR code which will take them straight to the page and enter their code for them. They then need to enter some details, including their email address and the name of the bookshop that gave them their flyer, in order to complete their claim. The free eGift cards will be emailed to customers within a week of claiming.
Is there any cost to me to participate in the High Five for Bookshops giveaway?
No – there’s no cost to you! It’s a completely free gift for your customers and the value of any redemptions you get will be credited at month end in the normal way. If you’ve got any more questions about the giveaway please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer service team through their usual channels.
What’s the incentive for me to participate?
Other than adding value to your Independent Bookshop Week celebrations, rewarding your loyal customers with a free gift and driving footfall back into your shop, National Book Tokens will also be awarding a bumper hamper of bubbly to the bookshop with the highest number of customers going on to claim their eGift cards.
Can I have more flyers?
Due to the high number of National Book Tokens being given away; unfortunately, we can’t issue more than 100 flyers per bookshop.
How is the giveaway being promoted?
Since it’s up to each individual bookshop how they distribute their flyers, there will be no general consumer promotion carried out by National Book Tokens or the BA. However, it will be shared with trade press in the run-up to Independent Bookshop Week, so there should be widespread trade PR – and downloadable assets are available from the IBW site for you to promote the giveaway however you choose. You can also upload any of your IBW events and offers to Caboodle, and these will be emailed to booklovers near your shop.
What should I do if a customer has a question about the giveaway that I can’t answer?
Customers can view the full terms and conditions for the High Five for Bookshops giveaway on the National Book Tokens website at nationalbooktokens.com/highfive from 15th June onwards, along with a link for getting in touch with National Book Tokens for any further queries. As a bookseller, you can also get in touch with National Book Tokens through the usual channels – by emailing email@example.com or by calling 020 7421 4640.
What about customers who don’t have email addresses?
Customers without an email address – or access to create one – can claim their free £5/€5 National Book Token by post. To do this, they should send their flyer to the following address, and include their full name and postal address, as well as the name of the bookshop who gave them the flyer:
High Five for Bookshops – claims
National Book Tokens
6 Bell Yard
There are separate terms and conditions for postal claims, which can be found online, and will be available for customers to view at nationalbooktokens.com/highfive from 15th June onwards.
I’m not sure how to process eGift cards
If you need help you can contact the National Book Tokens customer service team, who will be able to advise. However, it’s very easy to process eGift cards – just treat them in the same way that you would a physical gift card that can’t be swiped and enter the long card number manually. If you have a scanner, you can also scan the code on the eGift card.
Do I have to participate?
There’s no obligation to participate in the giveaway – however, we hope that it will add value to your Independent Bookshop Week celebrations, help you to promote the campaign, increase customer loyalty and drive footfall to your shop post-IBW, giving you lots of reasons to join in and give the free gifts to your customers.
January 2019: VAT on vouchers
The regulations covering VAT for vouchers changed in January 2019. The Booksellers Association and Book Tokens have monitored the changes closely to ensure that wherever possible VAT recoverability for BA members selling vouchers (or gift cards) is maximised.
While we are unable to give specific VAT advice or confirm that you will definitely not be affected by the changes, we believe, based on the final guidance issued by the UK and Irish regulators, that any VAT related to National Book Token gift cards remains recoverable in the majority if not all cases, and our business model remains the same.
We would like to draw booksellers’ attention to specific guidance issued by the UK and Irish regulators.
Considerations when selling and redeeming own brand vouchers and gift cards
- If the voucher can be used on products with different VAT rates then it is likely to be a Multi-Purpose Voucher (MPV), if not it is likely to be a Single Purpose Voucher (SPV). The VAT treatment is different, for an SPV you need to account for VAT when the voucher is sold, whereas for an MPV you account for VAT when it is redeemed.
- When issuing and redeeming own brand MPVs, it is likely a retailer will be entitled to deduct related input tax because it is attributable to the goods or services supplied (provided they are taxable goods or services, and subject to the normal rules).
Considerations when selling and redeeming National Book Tokens
The sale by a bookseller of a National Book Token, represents the issue of the MPV the consideration for which is disregarded. However, the VAT incurred in doing this is an overhead cost of the retailer issuer because the purpose is to promote sales of its goods or services.
More information from the UK and Irish regulator scan be found at:
If you have any specific concerns or issues relating to this regulation, please contact us and we will try to assist if possible.
2019: National Book Tokens eVouchers
The National Book Tokens eGift card / eVoucher launched in April 2018 and sales are now growing - hopefully your customers are already using them in your bookshop and you are finding them easy to handle.
An example eGift was emailed to all booksellers - it includes simple information about how to redeem.
If you have any questions about National Book Tokens eVouchers or would like us to resend you an example, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years eVouchers have become a significant part of the B2B voucher sector – with many employee benefits companies or rewards programmes now preferring them to gift cards. To ensure that National Book Tokens can continue to sell to employee rewards and benefits programmes, and in turn drive new customers into bookshops, offering eVouchers has become important.
Consumers are also turning to E.gift products when time is tight - for instance many are bought on Christmas or Boxing day. So they will allow us to continue to promote bookshops right up until after that importnat gifting occasion.
How do eVouchers work?
eVouchers are just like gift cards and can be redeemed in store using the same systems. However eVouchers do not have magnetic stripes so will either need to be barcode read or manually keyed into the system.
They are usually emailed directly to recipients or employees as part of their benefits or as a reward. Recipients tend to print them out and then present them in store – just like an e-ticket.
What will this mean to Bookshops?
We anticipate low volumes of National Book Tokens eVouchers for a number of years. In fact we forecast that most bookshops will initially redeem less than one a month.
We hope that booksellers will accept the very small inconvenience of occasionally having to key in numbers as it will allow us to continue to grow National Book Tokens and thereby to continue to support the book trade.
More information will be circulated over the coming weeks and we will keep all BA members informed about key dates.
2018: National Book Tokens FSC board gift cards – NEW in 2018
As of summer 2018 the core range of National Book Tokens gift card designs will be printed on FSC-certified board instead of plastic. This step massively reduces National Book Tokens’ use of plastics.
FSC certification allows consumers to identify, purchase and use paper products produced from well-managed forests and/or recycled materials. National Book Tokens first tested using FSC-certified board in 2016 and have monitored print quality, durability and customer response to ensure that high product standards are maintained.
Please note, for environmental and efficiency reasons we intend to use all remaining stocks of plastic gift cards rather than destroy them, so it is likely that a few of the cards you order will still be plastic. It should take a few months for these cards to all be used. Please do not dispose of any plastic cards you already have in stock.
Plus, please note: All National Book Tokens gift cards are reloadable, so can be reused by card holders at any time and they now all have an 8 year expiry from last use.
Withdrawal of older gift card designs
We have now withdrawn from sale certain older National Book Token gift card designs. These can no longer be sold or topped-up, but can still be redeemed.