Valentine’s Day is next week. Most people are planning their romantic dinners with their sweetie and getting their orders in for a bouquet of a dozen roses.
But have you ever considered a blind date? What about a blind date...with a book?
That’s correct, you read that right.
Curious Iguana book store on North Market Street has been offering a promotion for about four years that lets you...well.. have a blind date with a book.
It’s pretty interesting, read on.
“Blind Date with a Book is this really cool idea that a lot of independent book stores and libraries have really taken and run with in the last few years,” said Lauren Nopenz Fairley, operations manager at Curious Iguana. “We pick books from every genre and we wrap them in craft wrapping paper so you can’t see the title or anything about the book.”
The staff then writes little hints on the wrapping paper as to what the book is about and what genre it is.
“We’ll write a little something about it to give you a clue like ‘this is great for people who like mythology’ or ‘this is great for people who don’t know what they want to read,’ those types of things,” she said.
You still don’t know what book you’re getting, but the clues help you get something that you’d be interested in reading.
The store has about 20 wrapped and ready for purchase at any given time between Jan. 14 and Feb. 14.
“They all have different little heart drawings and have fun colors,” she said. “We put the price on the book and there are no extra costs with it. And then we cut out where the bar code is so that way when we ring it up we get to see what book it is, but the purchaser has no idea what book they’re buying.”
She said independent bookstores and book sellers are “a really cool bunch” because they all share ideas and help each other, like promoting unique efforts like this one.
“This is the stuff that draws people in and makes us more exciting,” she said.
She said it gets more popular every year with more and more people coming in before Jan. 14 asking when they’ll start the promotion.
During the promotion, the store also partners with Voila! Tea and includes $5 gift cards in some of the books. Gift cards to Curious Iguana are also hidden in some of the books as well.
Last year, the store sold more than 60 books with Blind Date with a Book, she said this year they’re expecting to sell even more.
They generally start with 25 books just to see how the promotion goes, but since Jan. 14 they’ve been wrapping an additional 25 books a week.
“As any retail person knows, January and February are pretty quiet,” she said. “And Valentine-themed books are kind of hard to promote, so this was a really cool idea for regular old books to get in the hands of people. It’s just a lot of fun and people really enjoy the mystery of it.”
The said book genres range from politics to poetry to thriller to non-fiction to young adult books and beyond.
“We definitely try to have a little bit of everything for everybody,” she said. “Not everybody likes to read the same stuff. And it definitely tests that idea of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’”