Thursday, September 28, 2023

US Needs An Icelandic Christmas Book Flood

Iceland, though a tiny Nordic island nation that was founded by Vikings and has a miniscule population of 375,000, is a HUGE country for books. In fact, their Yule Book flood tradition is one worthy of the US to model.  

Every citizen in Iceland is given an annual catalogue called the Journal of Books, distributed to all households for free in the fall. A list of new books prompts citizens to purchase books to be gifted on Christmas Eve. This tradition makes books them ost popular gift for the holidays in the country. Icelanders will often read their new books and drink hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.  

According to Wikipedia, “The tradition officially began in 1944, when the Journal of Books was first published, as a result of the post-World War II economy. 1] Many nations isolated themselves as they rebuilt their economies, most notably in western Europe. This diminished the number of imports Iceland received from other nations, which included most forms of giftware. Limitations on paper goods were not as restrictive, making them a more common import during the post-war era. Is| Due to their neutrality in the war, Iceland had not faced the same economic crash that most of Europe had, which left them with an above-average spending capacity and fewer items to spend on. 4] When the holiday season came, books were the most available gift.” 

Iceland has a rich, long-standing love affair with books. 


“Most famously,” says Wikipedia,  “a collection of works known as the Icelandic Sagas began the true Icelandic fascination with literature in a way that was independent of any other nation. These works were written between the 12th and 15th centuries, though it is believed that they existed first as oral tales before they were written down. 7] Their subject was that of historical records that became more narrative over time. For the Icelanders, this meant written tales of certain families and individuals that allowed for the record keeping of Icelandic society. I71 With a foundation of writing and reading established at the base of the nation's culture, the trend of literature was established and continued


According to, “almost 255 of all book sales over the year occur during the holiday season. Almost half of that, around 12%, happens around Christmas,” So, books are bought at a faster rate during the holidays here which is great, but now let’s start pushing “Bookstimas” – my coining of that holiday season where books are bought, read, shared, and gifted with a passion.


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Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  

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