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Written by Chris Routledge, 3rd June 2009

‘Seriously addictive'. ‘Once you've started it's hard to stop'.

The above are slogans that are to be used in the latest campaign for the promotion of reading, though you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The initiative, which to begin with will target existing book buyers, has been deemed ‘edgy [...] clever, fun, flexible, memorable' and ‘a PR catapult'. Such praise of the campaign is hardly surprising, when you consider that it comes from Damian Horner, the man responsible for creating the concept: "Bookaholism". The project was first initiated by Publisher's Association CEO Simon Juden and carried through at the Book Industry Conference in order to kick-start the PR stunt and encourage people to buy more books.

Though the campaign will firstly be aimed at those who already purchase books, its creator believes it will also be effective if targeted at those less enthusiastic readers who ‘Quick Reads' are currently aimed at, with the long term objective being to ‘build (the campaign) into a holistic concept'. Though the overall purpose is obviously to promote books, we're wondering if it can be right to promote them with the negative associations that inevitably come with addiction. Horner's slogans of ‘Class A Reading Material' and ‘Get Hooked on a Book' certainly make an impact, but is it in the right way? Is this idea of Bookaholism and addiction the only way to inspire and encourage people to pick up a book? Or, as Damian Horner says, will people be just as open to professing themselves 'Bookaholics' as they will 'shopaholics and chocaholics'?

We can only wait and see as to what Horner will be promoting as his ‘Class A Reading Material'...

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