The Bookmark Contest at Brazos

The Bookmark Contest at Brazos

The folks at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, TX, have a fun way to get kids involved in their store and reading. A bookmark design contest!

Each year, they choose 1 design from entries submitted in each of the four categories: kindergarten, 1/2 grades, 3/4 grades, & 5/6 grades. The 4 winning designs are produced into bookmarks and given away in the bookstore all summer.

Jeremy Ellis, general manager for the store, says that he modeled the Brazos Bookstore contest one he helped create many years ago at BookPeople in Austin, TX. “We encourage colorful entries that say something about the books they love. The contest has always been a great way to interact with schools,” he says. “We give the 4 winners stacks of their bookmark to share with their friends, which helps spread the word about the store.”

In addition to the 50 bookmarks given to each winner, they also each receive a $25 gift certificate to the bookstore. All entries submitted are given “time in the spotlight” and displayed at the store during their summer kickoff party, which is scheduled for this year on May 16.

“The program does require some promotion,” says Ellis. “We pass out entry forms at storytime for several months in advance of the deadline. And we send links around to as many PTA’s and art teachers as we can make contact with.”

Oh, the entry form. Am I revealing too much of my inner-geek by saying how much I love this form? Well-designed and thought out, it provides a place for the art entry, contestant information, the rules and prizes, the event, the fine print, where to sign up for the newsletter and information the store, and–most important–how to print out a new form if you need to start over with your design.

Ellis says he’s often asked if they’ll ever do a contest for adults. “No plans as of yet,” he says, “but it remains an intriguing idea.”

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay