Top Drawer

A/W, 10—12 September 2017 | Olympia London

| S/S, 14—16 January 2018

Loading
Back to Academy

Books as beautiful objects

11-Aug-2016

 

Marc Valli

Gift books have been around for a long time, but the category has undergone a resurgence and reinvention in recent years with new formats and related products, such as games and cards. We spoke to one of the experts in the industry to find out more about what makes a great gift book. Marc Valli (pictured to the left) is a book author and founder of the Magma shop as well as the prestigious Elephant magazine.

During the day he works as Commissioning Editor for Art and Head of Gift at Laurence King Publishing (who are also exhibiting at Top Drawer). Here he tells us all about gift books, LKP's future plans and his favourite ranges.


secret garden

Please tell us a bit about Laurence King Publishing.

Laurence King is an important visual arts publishing company. We have been around as an independent publisher for 25 years and have led the way in many areas and trends, more recently in the adult colouring market. We published the title that launched a thousand others Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden – which then turned into a worldwide publishing phenomenon. This also sparked a series of very successful colouring gifts.

We have also been, I think, the first publisher in the UK to take gifts very seriously. We have tried to develop a series of creative, fun and intelligent gifts, which has now inspired many others in the field. I would mention as an example our fun bingo games series, which started with Bird Bingo, and was followed by Bug, Dog and Cat versions. All very successful.

What makes a great gift book?

I think they need to be fun, and look good when on the shelves. People need to want to own them as beautiful objects, things with personality and attitude that say something about the buyer, or the reader, or whoever the book gift is being bought for. A good title always helps … We are, for example, planning a book called How To Sweep A Room, Brush Your Teeth, Polish Your Shoes & Please Your Lover.

We are also always trying to push the boundaries of what a book can be. For example, we are about to launch a series of books filled with temporary tattoos. The first series, aimed at kids, is called Tattoo Time, and features pages of temporary tattoos alongside an activity book. The second series, called Tatouage, is aimed at adults and mixes superb temporary tattoos with beautiful keep-sake prints that you can then use as reference to get the temporary tattoo done on you permanently by a tattoo artist.

I would also say that apart from gift books, and book-related products, we have always tried to put emphasis on gifts that can stand on their own ‘feet’ so to speak, gifts that do not need a book to be special, that carry their own content, tell their own story. Story Box is a good example of this; it is a different type of object altogether.

Who is the typical buyer of gift books?

I would like to think of buyers as intelligent people who are trying to find something original and different. Something with a special meaning. Whether they are looking at a book gift or just a gift, they are people who would like something more interesting, with more content, than a simple object (though of course objects can be amazing too!).

Clash of the Titans
cat bingo

What's your favourite product range?

I am particularly fond of our range of trump card games on themes ranging from fashion (Fashion Face Off) to art (The Art Game and The Clash of the Titians) to bikes (Battle of the Bikes) and music (Battle of the Bands) and soon, film. The text for those is always very sharp and witty and the categories are often very amusing such as, in the case of Battle of the Bands, ‘appetite for destruction’, ‘shock value’, ‘diva factor’, etc. Making these is always extremely good fun (and often controversial).

I am also very fond of a gift we are launching this Autumn called Previously On: Guess the TV Series, which is a set of flash cards with 3 illustrations on each card and that you hold in front of someone so that they have to guess what TV-series the illustrations relate to. The cards also have some good content at the back (for example, an index describing how much of the audience was male vs. female, one analysing the level of sex and violence, etc.) It is quite a fascinating thing when you look at it properly.

I am particularly fond of our range of trump card games on themes ranging from fashion (Fashion Face Off) to art (The Art Game and The Clash of the Titians) to bikes (Battle of the Bikes) and music (Battle of the Bands) and soon, film. The text for those is always very sharp and witty and the categories are often very amusing such as, in the case of Battle of the Bands, ‘appetite for destruction’, ‘shock value’, ‘diva factor’, etc. Making these is always extremely good fun (and often controversial).

I am also very fond of a gift we are launching this Autumn called Previously On: Guess the TV Series, which is a set of flash cards with 3 illustrations on each card and that you hold in front of someone so that they have to guess what TV-series the illustrations relate to. The cards also have some good content at the back (for example, an index describing how much of the audience was male vs. female, one analysing the level of sex and violence, etc.) It is quite a fascinating thing when you look at it properly.

 

What are your plans for the future?

While trying not to give too much away, we are developing many different areas. There are new series of card games, such as tarot cards based on popular culture. We are also developing some very exciting new board games: these are actually quite difficult to develop but can be amazing if one gets them right. We also like the idea of mixing books and gifts in things such as storytelling games. We have a few of those in the pipeline. Our children’s book list is growing very fast and we are also trying to develop gifts to go alongside these …


Click here to view Laurence King Publishing's full exhibitor profile

Or visit them in the GIFT section on stand R37

Product Gallery

Loading

See more >

Latest News

 

    Follow
    • Sponsors
      Loading
      2 Results
    • Associations
      Loading
      6 Results
    • Media Partners
      Loading
      22 Results

    Top Drawer is the UK's leading retail trade event for creative lifestyle buyers,
    showcasing a curated edit of 1500 brands to top international retailers.