Flower books spread out over a speckled pink backgroundBooks can be a low-risk way to help your product ranges stay relevant amidst a revolving door of social media inspired trends. Let us show you how.

Social media culture spits out trends more often than the British weather changes in summer. And unless you have the smartphone habits of a typical fifteen-year-old, it can be impossible to keep up.

Not all trends make it to retail spaces, but many do, influencing fashion, homewares and ultimately consumer tastes.

Take the cottagecore trend as an example. Beginning on Instagram circa 2017 and accelerated by the pandemic via TikTok, this online movement celebrates wholesome countryside living. Taylor Swift’s Folklore album took the trend to new heights and it didn’t take long for the folksy aesthetic to infiltrate the high street, reaching customers who haven't ever logged on to TikTok.

But with so many digital subcultures threatening to be the next big thing, how can you tell which one to back?

Identifying the right opportunities

Trade shows can be a great source to identify trends. Bookspeed is a regular at Top Drawer, which is one of the more design-led trade shows in the calendar and the perfect place for a bit of trendspotting.

Cultural events play a huge role in amplifying a trend. Last year’s Barbie movie put Barbiecore’s bright pink aesthetic everywhere. It’s no coincidence that the 2023 Pantone Colour of the Year was Viva Magenta.

This year Taylor Swift’s Eras tour has been hugely influential in introducing themes of girlhood and crafting into mainstream culture. Publishers jumped on this too and we were inspired to curate a Swifties Collection to help our customers embrace the moment.

For us, when it comes to identifying whether a trend has staying power, we look for common emerging themes in the new books coming out. When we see multiple publishers releasing books on a particular trend or with a certain aesthetic, we can be confident that this is something that is hitting mainstream tastes and is ready for a general retail setting.Collection of books and vinyl assembled on a teal surface

Books are a low-risk option

We’ve noticed that in recent years publishers have become quicker at responding to trends, offering lots of brilliant giftable options for retailers looking to be culturally relevant.

Books can be a great product for jumping on a trend without fully committing. This is one situation when judging a book by its cover counts. If you’re looking to bring an in-store product range up-to-date without making risky stock decisions, a few well-placed books can help tell the story of a trend visually with a bold clear title or a current cover aesthetic or colour. We look out for books that can work in this way throughout our selection process. Sometimes a new trend can breathe fresh life into an older title too.

Books can offer opportunities to participate in a trend at different levels. We look for a range of price points to give our retail customers a choice between anything from small pick-up picture books that nod to a cultural moment or stunning coffee table books for targeting a trending topic in depth.

crafting books on a marble effect background

Curating for trends

We took this approach with our new Crafting and Escapism collection. This was created after observing the rise in crafting among younger audiences and an exciting new crop of beautifully designed books in this genre. Crafting and Escapism was also highlighted in the Association of Cultural Enterprises’ trends report. When curating this range, we had the merchandising needs of our customers at the front of our minds. We made sure we incorporated some wider themes, such as mindfulness or botanicals, to help retailers draw connections to existing product lines.

Of course, trends aren’t for everyone. Many retailers we work with are successful because they have built a loyal customer base through having a clear retail identity that doesn’t jump on every new fad. But for others, trends can present opportunities to freshen up a range and reach different demographics of customers. Books can make that simple to do.

Do you want to take a fresh look at your product range?

If you’d like some help sourcing books to complement the latest trends, talk to us.

Contact us

 Browse our trending collections