Sunday, 28 August 2016

Autumn Swap Prep: Trick or Treat Swap Rules

The Autumn/Halloween Ninja Book Swap is coming and this year we are going to once again run the Trick or Treat Swap as well as the Original Swap. We gave this one a miss last year since the year before it caused a lot of headache, but it is probably my favourite swap so I want to give it another chance because I know it can be excellent! If you plan to participate in this once sign up opens please make sure you read this post thoroughly

How it Works

  • The Trick or Treat Swap should probably more accurately be titled The Trick and Treat Swap. You sign up as normal but also include a list of three of your favourite books and the genres that they fall into, plus a genre you would like to read more from and we will then match you up with a person who has a favourite in the genre you'd like to read more of. 
  • The parcel you receive should then consist of - a 'trick' book from the genre you want to read more of. This doesn't have to be the book the person making your parcel listed as their favourite but should be one that they have read and enjoyed themselves. A 'treat' which can be a book from your wishlist and/or some little gift type items based on your list of likes. It could also include optional Halloween items/sweets etc as long as your person hasn't listed Halloween in their list of dislikes!
  • Please make sure you include a treat as well as a trick. This doesn't mean you have to include two books, although it's nice, but you must include the trick book and either a treat book or a gift items that you think the person you're buying for will love. 
It is important to note that genre is open to interpretation on the part of the person making your parcel. Therefore if you need to give us specifics (e.g I'd like to read more mystery or detective fiction but I don't like gory crime, I'd like to read more science fiction but I already read and loved The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, I'd like to read more romance but don't like love triangles etc) then please do that in the 'Additional Comments' box - that's what it's there for!

Please bear in mind that people's tastes differ and that the person creating your parcel will have put time and thought into the 'trick' recommendation that they include for you. If you think you're likely to be upset or disappointed if you receive a book that you feel isn't necessarily 'you' then please stick to signing up for the original swap, where the only books included will be from your wishlist!

There have been a few little rule changes over the past couple of swaps so please make sure you check out the full list of what you have to do to take part (don't worry it's not all that long!). We want the swaps to go as well as possible for everyone involved so please do make sure you've informed yourself fully before committing to taking part. 

If you haven't participated in the swap before we'd love to have you join us! Just make sure that I'll know who you are on the sign up sheet by chatting to me on twitter or my other blog. If I don't recognise you your sign up will be deleted, so come say hi, I'm friendly I promise! The swap is international and you can specify if you want to send internationally or domestic, although with some countries we don't have enough participants to always make domestic shipping possible but in that instance you will be contacted for the country that's easiest for you to ship to! In the past we've had participants from UK, USA, Canada, Oman, Australia, Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Ireland, India and South Africa, so wherever you're from in the world please feel free to join us when sign up opens on September 24th (or slightly before if I get impatient) and spread the word so the chances of you being able to send within your own country are higher!

You can have a look at the How it Works and FAQ pages if you're unsure on anything, and if it's not covered there just give me a shout on twitter, I'm happy to explain!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Summer Mini Swaps Sign up!

The day is upon us, sign up for the Persephone Summer Mini Swap is now open! 

Before we all start getting crazy at the thought of all the giving and receiving of beautiful books and making of awesome new friends which is to come, let's just get a few things out of the way shall we?

Firstly please take note of the new rule, which is that if you haven't taken part in a Ninja Book Swap before but want to take part in this one I must either know you (this can be just from chatting on twitter - @NinjaBookSwap) or you must have a past swapper who is willing to vouch for you. This doesn't mean that they will be responsible for whether or not you do the swap properly, but I would hope that if someone's willing to tell me they think you'll be a good swapper you would feel an obligation to live up to their expectation. If they're vouching for you they need to just send me a tweet saying 'hey, x is cool' or something similar so I know.

Now that's over, here's how the swap will work! As ever, please read all the rules first (there aren't many!) and if you are going to be unable to send by the deadline please miss this swap out, there'll be another one soon!

  • Sign up for the Persephone swap using this form from today until June 11th. Sign up for the original swap using this form. Or sign up for two of one, or one of each, just make sure to fill in the form enough times, and if you're entering twice please put 'second entry' in the additional comments box so I know you've not done it by accident! 
  • Sometime over the next couple of days after sign up closes I will email you with the details of the person you'll be buying for. As per usual with ninja swap, this will not be the same as the person you receive from!
  • Buy your person a book or two from their top four most wished for Persephone titles, or from their wishlist for the original swap. 
  • This is a mini swap so you do not make an entire parcel as you do with the spring and autumn swaps. All you have to do is send a book or two, which this time around must be a book published by Persephone Books (for the Persephone swap) or a book from their wishlist (for the original swap). You can find many of their titles on Amazon and Wordery (where they will also ship worldwide for free), and the entire catalogue is available from Persephone's own website, where they will gift wrap beautifully for you as well. 
  • Because it's a mini swap you may send directly from the place you purchase the books. Please include a gift note so they know who it's from and that it's a Ninja Swap gift. If there is no gift note option please send them an email or tweet to say hi and that the book was from you/is on its way!
  • You must have sent your book/s by June 25th. If life intervenes and you're unable to please let us know as soon as possible so we can keep your person informed ( We do understand that things can happen, however if you know at the outset you're unlikely to be able to send during the allotted time period please don't sign up this time around!
  • Please email us to let us know when your book has been sent. If you send it yourself, please get proof of postage and attach a picture of it to the email, otherwise attach the order confirmation from wherever you've ordered the book from. 
  • Share your pictures of your Persephone loveliness using #ninjabookswap and #persephonebooks on twitter and Instagram, and enjoy discovering some hidden gems!
If you have any questions or issues please get in touch via email or twitter, I'm always happy to chat. 

***Once again, the sign up form is here***

Original Swap

In case people want to do an original swap as well, I've decided to run one at the same time! The rules are all the same except that you need to submit a wishlist link or a list of ten books you'd like to read, and you MUST buy from your persons list! I just thought this might be easier for international people and means nobody has to miss out!

***Sign up for the ordinary mini swap here***
Happy swapping!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Save the Date for the Persephone Summer Mini Swap!

I'm doing this a little earlier than usual because of the introduction of a new rule to the swap and because it's a mini swap with a slight difference.

First things first, sign up for the summer mini swap will open on May 28th and close on June 11th. If you're a past swapper you will receive a reminder email once sign up is open. If you haven't taken part before the new rule is that we must know you. This comprises either me knowing you in real life, or you having had conversations with me on twitter (@NinjaBookSwap), so get chatting, I'm friendly! Also if you are the best friend/sibling/coblogger of a past swapper and they're happy to send me a quick tweet saying 'hey this person's cool' you can take part that way too.

So for the details: as we started last year, this will be a mini swap, so just a book or two sent directly to your person. No gifts or extras. The difference with this swap is that the only books being swapped will be Persephone Books. I was inspired to do this after the London Bookshop Crawl (yes there will be another one next year, tweet me if you want emails when I'm organising the next one) when we visited and had a fantastic time at the Persephone Bookshop. There are so many of their titles that I want to read, and I recognise that by specialising the swap in this way probably fewer people will sign up, but if you've never read a Persephone book before I really strongly urge you to go and have a look at their website, or the post I wrote for my Make Mine an Indie series about them, because although the majority of their books are by forgotten women authors from a certain time period, they are a really diverse collection and you'll almost definitely find something you want to read! They also have the added perk of being absolutely beautiful, with each book having the same gorgeous grey cover, but with endpapers featuring a design from the year the book was originally published, and a matching bookmark.

The specifics of the swap will be forthcoming with the sign up post, but for now you should probably have a browse of the Persephone website and familiarise yourselves, as I'll be asking you to make a mini wishlist of their titles for the swap! Please note that Persephone do gift wrap their beautiful books and ship them worldwide (for slightly more postage), alternatively if you're an international participant you can get some of the titles on places like Wordery (with free worldwide shipping), which may save you a little bit of money!

Please feel free to share about the swap far and wide, and use #ninjabookswap if you do so on social media. Please let me know on twitter if you blog about the upcoming swap as I'd love to share your posts, and please note the introduction of the new rule is in no way aimed at deterring new swappers from signing up, but merely at eradicating the very small number of people taking advantage of the swap!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Valentine's Ninja Book Swap Link Up!

Today is the sending deadline for parcels for the Valentine's Ninja Book Swap, and as usual we've loved seeing the gorgeous parcels coming in and watching everyone's joy. If you've blogged, tweeted, Instagrammed, Tumblred or whatever (but mostly blogged, we are bloggers after all and we love a good lengthy nose through other people's book mail!) we'd love to see it. Please link up your blogs (etc) here so we can all share the fun! 

If you missed this swap and don't want to miss the next one, just email us at ninjabookswap(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll add you to the list for a reminder when sign up opens for the next swap. 

There will be another full Ninja Book Swap in the autumn/fall, and also a mini swap during the summer. Details to come!

Remember to use #ninjabookswap on social media too so we can spread the word about your blog!

Monday, 29 February 2016

Best of Bookish Gifts: Society6

Recently, to help with inspiration for Ninja Swap and Secret Sister gifts, I wrote a post on some of the best bookish Etsy shops, and I couldn't not include my new love, Society6!

In case you're unfamiliar, Society6 is like Etsy but with more emphasis on the design aspect and less on the handmade. Artists and designers sell their images or designs and you can have them put onto whatever you like. I recently bought some mugs because they were having a 15% off and free worldwide shipping day and they just arrived and are super great quality. The only drawback of Society6 is that as far as I can tell it all ships from the US, meaning if you order from the UK shipping is automatically $10, but then that kind of just gives you incentive to buy more stuff, and trust me you're not short on beautiful and awesome options!

As with the Etsy post, some of these sellers I've bought from and some I haven't (yet), but all are brilliant and I'm sure those who have been familiar with Society6 longer can point me in the direction of awesome designers I've missed!

Pictures by Evie Seo

I actually follow Evie on twitter and have her to thank for my discovery of Society6. I'd heard people talking about it for a while but assumed it was a US thing and thought no more of it, until she posted one of her designs and I checked it out and now I can't stop adding her designs to my wishlist! She is a book and lifestyle blogger over at Bookish Lifestyle, and a lot of her designs are generally bookish but she does have some brilliant specific ones as well - I just bought my husband one of her Alice in Wonderland mugs and she has a great Harry Potter design among many, many others. Just please go check out her shop now. And I apologise in advance to your bank balance. 

Pictures by Paper Fury

I also discovered Cait's Society6 shop through her hilarious and amazing blog, Paper Fury, and the design pictured above on the pillow is probably my favourite of hers. It sums up everything that's important I think.You can get her designs on pretty much everything they do from cards and phone cases through to throw pillows and wall clocks. I love the simplicity of her designs and I'm planning to order something really soon!

Alice in Wonderbookland

Pictures by Alice in Wonderbookland

I didn't actually know that this is another blogger run store until I did a search to try to find someone to get in touch with to ask for photo permissions, but that it is! The blog is of the same name and I was glad to find it! My favourite thing about this store is the variety of brilliant bookish quotes.. A lot of the designs are just quotes in gorgeous watercolour style handwriting, like on the tote bag above, and I love that! I'm very tempted to get the 'I don't buy books, I adopt them' hoodie for the next bookshop crawl...

Pictures by Bookworm Boutique

I discovered this amazing shop through browsing around Society6, and then I bought the mug for someone and I want all of the things. The second picture up there is actually of a rug and oh my goodness I want it! You can also get some amazing duvet covers from there, but for swap purposes you're probably going to want to stick to the mugs (mine arrived in less than 10 days, brilliantly packaged) and stationery cards etc, of which there are a vast array!

Pictures by The Art of Young Adult

I will not apologise that both those pictures are Rainbow Rowell related. Everybody needs a go-to shop for their Rainbow Rowell needs, and this is now mine! This store is run by Gillian who blogs at Writer of Wrongs. I particularly love the Cath and Levi reading illustration, as it's pretty much exactly what I pictured when reading the book! There's also a large array of bookish and quote stuff, but the illustration is the best bit for me. 

And that's it for this post! As I said, I'm sure I'll discover a lot more and there will be lots more for future posts, but hopefully this and the Etsy post have given you some inspiration to go look for the awesome bookish stuff that's out there, or to make your own book related gifts!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Ninja Book Swap: Family Edition - Sign up OPEN

For a while now we’ve been playing around with the idea of hosting a kids version of the Ninja Book Swap. Some of you will know that kids literacy is one of the things I’ve always been passionate about, and even more so since having kids myself.

I have  a lot of good intentions as a parent; we’ll watch less TV, go for more nature walks, do more creative stuff, but the only one that we always, always carry out is story time. No matter what we always read together before the kids go to bed. It’s my favourite time of day. Stories enable us to talk to the kids and find out about stuff and find out what they think and giggle together and tuck them into bed knowing that they are loved and live in a world full of possibilities. When I mentioned on twitter that I was thinking of signing my boys up for the Ninja Book Swap, as I have a couple of times before, Jax suggested doing a family swap, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since, so here it is!

Although we’re well versed in running swaps (the Valentine’s is our eighth Ninja book Swap), this is our first time attempting a swap of this kind, so please bear that in mind. Once the swap is done I’ll send a feedback form so you can let us know what worked and what didn’t so we can fine-tune it for next time.

The aim of this swap is to promote reading as part of your family life, and so the way that it will run is thus:
  • Sign up will be open from Saturday 13th February to Sunday 21st February. You’ll sign your family up via this form. Please let us know the ages of all your participating children (please note that this swap is just for families with children – although if you want to participate with your nieces/nephews/godchildren, then that is fine – if you don’t have children you are very welcome to take part in the Original Ninja Book Swap)
  • In the form please give us a list of likes and dislikes; a couple for each family member, and please include any allergies. For example mine would be: Sam, likes cars and colouring, Benji likes stickers and Duplo, Bex likes fruit pastilles and Gilmore Girls, Rhys likes Dr Who and Everton football club. No allergies. Please also give a short list of things your family likes to do together; cook, go for walks, play board games, watch movies, whatever!
  • Your book wishlist can be a link to an actual wishlist (Amazon, Goodreads, Wordery etc) or just a list of titles, but must contain books you plan to read during story time or whenever it is that you read as a family.
  • This swap is open to families from all around the world. Please indicate in the sign up form whether you want to send internationally or in your own country. Dependent on sign up we will do our best to accommodate you!
  • Please also indicate on the form whether you prefer to swap with a family of a similar or different size to your own , or if you have no preference. Again, we will do our best to match you within your preferences.
  • After sign up closes I will email you with the details of the family you’ll be sending to.You will then have until March 13th to send your parcel. You will need to email me when you've sent and received your parcels so I can make sure that everyone is playing fair. Since it’s a ninja swap, this will not be the same family you’ll be receiving from! If you want to make more of a connection with the family you send to you can feel free to put in your address or email for them to reply to you!
  • Your parcel should include (Please read this bit particularly carefully as it’s different from the normal Ninja Swap): a book or two from your family’s wishlist and either a little gift for each family member based on their likes (e.g. for my family; a little car, some stickers, fruit pastilles and an Everton key ring) or a bigger gift for the whole family based on what they like to do together, for example, a card or board game, or a ‘movie night’ bundle; popcorn and a DVD or similar. Please also include a letter saying hi. If your kids love letter writing feel free to include more than one letter, and if they want to include artwork or crafts that’s fine too!

I’m really excited about this swap! If you tweet about it please use #ninjabookswap so I can keep up, and any questions please refer to the FAQs, tweet @NinjaBookSwap or email ninjabookswap (at) gmail (dot) com. Happy swapping!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Valentine's Ninja Book Swap Sign Ups are OPEN!

Guys, the day is here! Sign up for the Ninja Book Swap is now open!

A note on the theme (and thanks Hannah for bringing it up!). This swap was originally the 'Valentine's' swap because neither of us had much excitement for Valentine's day and we thought it would be much better to make new friends and send & receive books for it. Your parcel does not have to be in any way Valentines themed. It can if you want, but it's not a requirement.

In case you're new around these parts (and even if you're not) here's a brief recap of the rules and how it works:

  • You sign up via this form. Please make sure you give us all the details you possibly can. If you're using an Amazon wishlist then please make sure to give us the shared link (at the top right hand of your screen when you're viewing your list there should be a button saying 'share'. Click on it and then copy the link that comes up and paste that into the wishlist section of the sign up form. Please and thank you). 
  • Sign up is open internationally. The more the merrier, but you must have a regularly updated online presence (blog, twitter, tumblr, goodreads) where I can contact you if needs be. 
  • Sign up closes on Saturday February 20th. Over the next couple of days after that you will receive details of your person. 
  • Go shopping! Your parcel should contain; a book (or more) from their wishlist, a gift (again, or more) based on their list of likes and dislikes and any knowledge you have of them from their blogs/twitter etc, and a card or letter introducing yourself or just saying hi! 
  • You must send your parcel by Friday 11th March. Once you have done so please email ninjabookswap(at)gmail(dot)com letting me know and attach a photo or scan of your proof of postage or the tracking number for your parcel. You must have this in case there are any issues with your parcel getting lost. It doesn't happen often but if it does and you cannot provide this you will be unable to participate again. 
  • Look forward to receiving your goodies!
  • Once you do, email us again to let us know, and please don't forget to say thank you to the person who's made your parcel.
  • If you tweet/Instagram/Facebook about the swap please use #ninjabookswap so everyone can see and we can connect with you. In the unlikely event that you are unhappy about something to do with the swap please contact us first via email and we will do everything we can to sort out the issue.
                                     ***Here is the form to sign up***

If you have any queries about anything please check the FAQs page first and then contact us on the email address above, or via twitter @NinjaBookSwap. Also check out the Tips and Tricks post for some other useful information. Happy swapping!