Blackwell’s Book Gift Club

Anyone with bookish friends and family knows the joy of being handed a book you’ve never heard of, accompanied by a glowing recommendation, and discovering a real treasure. Sometimes the books you didn’t know you wanted are the books that grab you the most… Mark Forsyth’s essay The Unknown Unknown discusses ‘the delight of not getting what you wanted’ from a bookshop who can work magic in providing unknown, unmissable books.

The Blackwell’s Book Gift Club works on this very principle – we will choose a brand new book for you (or your favourite book-lover), and send it to you each month. It’s a little bit of literary magic in your letterbox!

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We choose the most interesting and high quality books published during the year, so you’ll always receive a brand new hardback book, published within the last three months, and worth at least £16. Books will be sent out on the 1st of each month, and should be with you/your chosen recipient within five working days.

There are five categories to choose from:

1. Fiction

2. History

3. Politics, Philosophy and Culture

4. Science

5. ‘The Perfect Mixture’ – a selection of books from all categories

You can subscribe for 6 months or 12 months, and the prices are as follows:

12 months: £199 for the Fiction category, and £221 for the other four categories.

6 months: £99.50 for the Fiction category, and £110.50 for the other four categories.

If you would prefer to receive paperbacks, then for 12 months it’s just £120 for the Fiction category, and £150 for any other category, and for 6 months, it’s £60 for Fiction and £75 for the other categories.

Postage within the UK is free – if the subscription is a present for somebody else, we can send the payment details to you and the books to another address. Please email, with the subject ‘Book Gift Club’, for advice on international postage costs.

To leave you with some temptation, here’s a selection of some previous Gift Club choices…



The books that you are most likely to see under your tree this year…

As we tick off the first week of December we start to get a good feel for which books are going to be at the top of our bestseller lists come Christmas. If you are looking for inspiration for that ‘hard to buy for’ relative this might give you some ideas…

For details of these books and for plenty more recommendations from our booksellers visit our shop website, and don’t forget, you can always chat to us on Twitter!

Inspired By Blake Festival

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I am delighted to announce the upcoming Inspired By Blake festival, which will be taking place from 18th-31st January. A celebration of the genius of William Blake’s work, and his continuing relevance to so much art and culture today, the festival will run in conjunction with the Ashmolean Museum’s major exhibition, William Blake: Apprentice and Master.

Inspired By Blake is  absolutely chock full of fascinating events – we have a pretty fab website with tons of information about the festival, what’s on, and why Blake is so brilliant. The Blake blog, on the site, will be filled with exciting behind-the-scenes content from our booksellers, and exclusive pieces from bestselling authors. We’ll be posting on Tuesdays and Fridays, all the way up to and through the festival. Of course, Broad Conversation won’t be forgotten, so keep your eyes peeled on both sites!

We would love to hear from you, too, especially if you take any photos at the events! We’ll be using the hashtag #inspiredbyblake, so do join in!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest info.

Folio, Beautiful Folio





Did you know that Blackwell’s is the only stockist of Folio Society books in the whole of Oxford? These beautiful, luxurious hand-crafted editions of classic, iconic books are so gorgeous, it seemed like a great idea to showcase some of these beauties for you here on the blog! (more…)

The Giving Tree

If you would like to contribute to the Giving Tree but cannot make it into the shop you can make a purchase online here

“To quote the book “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein: Once there was a tree…../and she loved a little boy. Well, our giving tree is a tree that likes to give to boys and girls of Oxford who are less fortunate than most and our tree, just like the one in the book, (and with your wonderful help), gives and gives to make sure children all over Oxford wake up on Christmas morning with a smile on their face and present to open.  There’s nothing better than the gift of reading and what better way to share that gift with a child who really needs it.”

Ben Titchener, Children’s Department

Our wonderful Christmas Giving Tree 2014 has launched! Huge thanks to authors Jo Cotterill, Susie Day, Robin Stevens and Sally Nicholls for giving it such a fine launch – you can read Jo’s account here.


This is a scheme which invites customers at Blackwell’s to choose and donate books which will then be wrapped up by staff in our Children’s Department and delivered by The Children’s Society to disadvantaged children who may otherwise go without this Christmas. The Giving Tree is something we have got behind for three years now and the people of Oxford have been wonderfully generous in making Christmas better for the recipients of Giving Tree gifts.

We are only too aware that many children and young people may not have the opportunity to visit bookshops such as ours. More to the point they may not even have access to books at all. We want to help change that, and The Giving Tree has proven to be a brilliant way to do so.

Children represented by The Children’s Society choose a book they would like as a present. We then hang their wished-for title on a tag on our Tree ready to be picked off by our customers to buy for the child. There is also the option of buying a book not specified by a particular child but which you have fond memories of or feel would make the perfect gift, which will then be presented to an appropriately aged recipient. Comedian David Mitchell has already got involved by donating a copy of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which he loved as a child.

The Children’s Society has helped changed children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.
3.7 million children live in poverty in the UK. With your help, we’re working to improve children’s lives.

So this Christmas, while shopping for gifts and treats, why not take a moment to buy a present for a child less fortunate than most? Even if you are not able to get to the shop, you can participate in the Giving Tree online!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest info.

Student Welfare Week – Beat those Fifth Week Blues

If you are reading this and are, or have been, a student at Oxford, then the term ‘Fifth Week Blues’ needs no introduction. For the rest of you: Fifth Week Blues describes the feeling of misery, stress and generally being overwhelmed that inexplicably seems to hit every student in the fifth week of term.

Colleges try to combat Fifth Week Blues with a lot of TLC for students, and since Blackwell’s loves students, we thought we’d show them some love as well! We’ve designed a Student Welfare Week full of relaxation, fun, and laughter to put a smile on student faces all week long.

Firstly, we’re going to be running a Student Lounge in the Norrington Room. Comfy chairs, a space to relax, loads of fun activities… You can sit and read a book or a newspaper, play a game with friends (Dreaming Spires, anyone?) and even get back to childhood with some giant dot-to-dots and colouring in!

We’ve also laid on some fab comedy and music events:

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On Monday 10th at 1.30pm, we have a special performance from the Oxford Gargoyles, Oxford University’s finest jazz a capella group, ahead of their sold out Christmas events on 27th and 29th Nov (visit their website for more details)! Full of charm and glamour, the Gargoyles are entertainment at its finest.


Then on Tuesday 11th at 12.30pm, join us for a smorgasbord of light-hearted improvised comedy with the marvellous Oxford Imps. Hugely successful on the Oxford comedy scene and beyond, the Imps are here to help you laugh away the blues…The Imps have a weekly show at the Wheatsheaf pub on the High Street, Mondays at 8 (and visit their website for more info)

Finally, on Wednesday 12th at 3pm, renowned comedy writer and actor John Finnemore, best known for his Radio 4 comedy shows “John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme” and “Cabin Pressure”, as well as his appearances on “Miranda”, joins us for an afternoon of shaggy-dog tales and brilliant humour. There’s nothing like a giggle to make you feel better! Check out his blog to see what he’s up to.

Perhaps most exciting of all, we’re pioneering bibliotherapy sessions. Put your feet up and have a five-minute consultation with one of our skilled booksellers, and let us prescribe you a book that suits you perfectly. Plus, you’ll get 10% off whatever we prescribe!

So if you’re feeling the Fifth Week Blues, pop into the shop and take a look at our Student Welfare fun! Don’t forget to join the Facebook event to keep updated.

Matchbook Books!

It seems that there is a new genre in town – the ‘matchbook’. Two examples have caught our eye, firstly a new collection of 30 short ‘entertainments’ by Michael Frayn and the second issue of Matchbook Stories from Cypriot indie publisher Books Ex Machina. Both are charming ‘amuse bouche’ that delight with their wit and style, both in content and design.

Perfect as presents – especially to yourself! Both are now available in the shop priced £12.99.