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Book sales and other ways to support author events in schools

How schools can help authors and children get the most out of a visit, by offering support where possible.

Last updated: 10 October 2023

Adults sitting on soft benches and beanbags reading in a book shop

An author visit can be a truly magical experience for pupils, teachers, and authors. However, for the author, events are also a way for them to support themselves and ensure they can continue with a writing career. Between the rising cost of living and falling earnings, authors are facing big challenges – as we know schools are too. 

School visits and book sales

In the past, school visits were often accompanied by a book sale, where the author could offer children the opportunity to buy a copy of their book. This is a lot less common nowadays, for a variety of reasons. Two of the biggest being the Cost of Living crisis(this link will open in a new window) and the Cost of the School Day project(this link will open in a new window) from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), a programme that supports schools to identify and overcome barriers that children from low income families face when it comes to costs associated with their participation and engagement at school.

Activities such as book buying may not be open to every child and some schools are mindful of this when it comes to planning visits. If you know that you won’t be able to run a book sale alongside an author visit, please do let the author know. Otherwise, they’re likely to assume there will be an opportunity to sell books and may buy and transport copies themselves in preparation. 

How book sales help authors 

While buying a book can be a relatively low cost for some families, especially in comparison to larger activities, it can also be a big cost when there isn't any money to spare. So it's understandable that a book sale may not be a suitable choice in every setting. That said, they do provide an important revenue stream for authors, who are currently facing a huge drop in revenue, with the median earnings falling to £7,000 a year(this link will open in a new window), according to research from the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).

Alternative ways to support authors

If your school isn't able to hold book sales as a way to mark author visits, there are some other ways that you can offer support and also make books available to children who are keen. For example: