Let’s Put a Pin in That

lhawkins - January 23, 2017

As my bookstore’s sideline buyer — one of about 15 hats I wear on any given day as proprietor of a wee small store — I love nothing more than stumbling across a new gift item that is book-related, has a great price point, and holds appeal for kids, teens, and adults.

From Sara Varon

A few weeks ago while perusing the bookstore’s Twitter feed I happened to see that Sara Varon, the very talented creator of all-ages graphic novels like Robot Dreams, Odd Duck, and Sweaterweather, among others, has a Kickstarter project for creation of enamel pins depicting characters from her forthcoming book New Shoes (First Second, available winter 2018). I’m a fan of Sara’s books and these pins are adorable, so I kicked in (no pun intended) and also contacted Sara about wholesale availability. I’m happy to report that they will be available to retailers at the end of February — and wouldn’t they make an awesome display next to her books?

From Ideal Bookshelf

A few days later Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., shared a photo online of book-themed enamel pins by Ideal Bookshelf that they carry. That led me to contact the company for a catalog. (I get a lot of great ideas from photos that other stores post online!) They have a wide variety of pins inspired by classic books, including one from each book of the Harry Potter series. Ideal Bookshelf also carries other fun book-related gifts, like greeting cards and mugs.

From Out of Print

There must have been something in the air that week, because within a couple of days I got an email from Out of Print Clothing about their new line of book and library themed enamel pins to complement their popular lines of clothing and accessories. The pins all come in sets of two, like The Little Prince pictured here, and will begin shipping in February.
I began to wonder, for my own sake as sideline buyer and for the sake of the blog post I suddenly felt coming on, if enamel pins had become a full-fledged gift trend.

From Beck Seashols

Beck Seashols is a cartoonist and illustrator in Roanoke, Va., whose work I’ve long admired, and she’s recently added enamel pins to the products she makes featuring her artwork. Though she only has a few styles out right now, the ones she has, like this Rainbow Narwhal, are irresistible, and more styles are coming soon.
On a search for more variety, an online search led me to the company These Are Things. They offer various gift items from many different artists, including tons of enamel pins, not necessarily book-themed but with a wide range of images appealing to different age groups and interests and easily merchandised with books on various subjects.

From These Are Things

I love the fact that they offer their Baby Mermaid pins in three different skin tones. I’d love to see more of this consideration from other gift companies. (Especially greeting card companies, but that’s a post for another day.)
So, readers, is this a hot new trend in bookstore sidelines? I’d love to hear whether any of our readers at other bookstores are stocking any of these little cuties already, and if so, what styles are selling well for you.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Put a Pin in That

  1. Kenny Brechner

    These are sensational Leslie! I will rectify lagging being behind the literary pin wave straightway. Thank you.

  2. Anna

    Yes, enamel pins are absolutely a trend right now. They’ve been very hot with folks on the internet (Instagram, Etsy, etc) for about a year, maybe a year and a half. My old bookshop stocks them now and I’ve bought several — I’d definitely encourage you to join the wave!


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