At The Reading Agency, our partnership with publishers has been at the heart of our mission to tackle life's big challenges through the proven power of reading since the charity was formed in 2002. Reading Partners grew out of our shared agenda of getting more people to read more and is designed to support publishers, prizes and other partners in the commercial drive to build audiences and reach readers working particularly with public libraries as democratic access points for reading. We offer publishers physical and digital platforms to creatively market books to reach new and engaged readers.
Reading Partners then...
Our founders, Debbie Hicks MBE, Miranda McKearney OBE and Anne Sarrag MBE, saw the potential for a national library network to build new strategic partnerships that would increase engagement with reading.
The Reading Agency was created by bringing together three development agencies which they were involved in and whose work was already having an impact on amplifying and connecting reading development in the library sector. These included Well Worth Reading, a marketing and promotions programme delivering off-the-shelf national reading promotions to public libraries with publishers and other partners and The Reading Partnership which published ground breaking research Reading the Situation, Book reading, Buying and Borrowing Trends in Britain (The Reading Partnership/BML 2002) which proved the link between borrowing and buying and the unique role of libraries in building audiences for reading. Reading Partners was born.
Our early work with publishers and stakeholders enabled us to enhance the opportunities for children, their families, young people and adults to engage with reading in order to create a society of readers.
Reading Partners now...
From these beginnings, our Reading Partners programme has grown to work with over 40 publishers and other partners on an annual basis to bring new and exciting reading content to readers. We work with publishers, prizes and other partners to develop activity using our 'menu' of campaign options or by taking a more bespoke approach. Our Reading Partners publisher subscriptions now offer more than ever with an opportunity to pitch for inclusion in booklists and our monthly event series, The Reading Agency Presents.
Working closely and collaboratively with publishers of books for adults and children, we help to devise and deliver promotional campaigns reaching over 3,300 libraries, schools, prisons, care homes, hospitals, and community centres. These can include coordinating virtual and physical author events in libraries and schools, facilitating library displays, sharing resources, reading group focused activity and more. In 2020, we hosted virtual Reading Partners Roadshows which reached nearly 1,000 attendees.
In 2019-20, The Reading Agency reached over 1.8 million people across the UK, including more than 950,000 children and over 900,000 adults and young people. Approximately, 300,000 of the people reached in 2019-20 were through the Reading Partners programme and publisher promoted activities.
"The Reading Agency are a complete gift. They allow us to reach new audiences in innovative ways and their attention to detail, professionalism and creative approach to our campaigns is unparalleled... The team feel like an extension of our own team, as well as bringing a real knowledge and expertise on working with libraries that we couldn't find anywhere else." Oxford University Children's Books
Why is this work important?
We want to create a world where everyone is reading their way to a better life. Research shows that reading for pleasure can promote better health and wellbeing, aids in building social connections and relationships with others and is associated with a range of factors that help increase social mobility. Sullivan and Brown (2013) found that reading for pleasure is more important for children's cognitive development than their parents' level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background. Another study found that reading significantly reduces feelings of loneliness for people aged 18-64 (Hilhorstet al., 2018).
We continually strive to reach a larger audience and we recognise the importance of listening to and collaborating with our partners and participants. Our co-creation model has been embedded into our programmes to ensure that they meet the needs of the people who will use them, while always striving to reach those who need us most.
Find out about the latest books from our publishing partners:
Books for children | Books for adults
"Over the past year the Reading Agency team has been at the heart of Vintage's campaigns from debuts to our biggest brand authors and the Vintage brand, helping us to reach beyond our core audiences in creative, purpose-driven ways... Celebrating and supporting community is at the heart of our strategy and we're indebted to the Reading Agency for enabling all this to happen." Vintage Books
Meet the team
Kimberley Sheehan, Campaign Manager
Kimberley was a primary school teacher for six years before completing a MA in Publishing and Creative Writing. She then joined The Reading Agency as part of the promotions team in 2016 and moved to the Children's Reading Partners team a year later. She was an Events Coordinator for the London committee of the Society of Young Publishers before becoming a Co-Chair in 2019. She spends her weekends reading (unsurprisingly), baking and then eating chocolate goodies, watching far too many crime documentaries and playing with her sister's sausage dog.
Kathleen Ktorides, Campaign Officer
Kathleen joined The Reading Agency in 2006 and has worked on a number of programmes including The Summer Reading Challenge and Chatterbooks. She has been part of the Reading Partners team since 2013 and loves working on campaigns with publishers. If she could be any character from a book, she would be Lyra Belacqua from the Northern Lights trilogy. She's feisty and brave and who wouldn't love to spend time with a (friendly) polar bear?
Zoe Sadler, Campaign Officer
Having worked in the busy world of arts PR and marketing, Zoe joined The Reading Agency on the cusp of the first national lockdown in 2020. She devises and delivers promotional campaigns, including a virtual event with Kazuo Ishiguro and Kate Mosse for World Book Night 2021 and a nationwide short story competition with people in prison. She also supports on the Teachers Reading Challenge and The Reading Agency's involvement in Festival UK* 2022. An avid book club member, Zoe loves translated fiction, magical realism and beautiful cover design.
Kathryn Rose, Assistant Programme Manager, Promotions
Following a degree in Italian and Spanish and a year running campaigns as a Sabbatical Officer in a Student Union, Kathryn joined The Reading Agency in 2018 leading on World Book Night, Prizes and Promotions, and Reading Groups for Everyone. She loves discovering the newest, exciting books, giving personalised recommendations and dreams of owning a bookshop/café/pizzeria.
Become a partner in 2021
We are hosting a showcase about our Reading Partners programme for publishers and freelancers at 12.15-12.45pm on Wednesday 19 May. Book your place here.
Find out more about our publisher partners and the standard and enhanced subscription offer for publishers for 2021/22 here.
We are pleased to be able to offer discounted rates for small independent publishers and freelancers. For further information about working with us please contact email@example.com for details.
We also work with book prizes and organisations including The Booker and International Booker Prize, The Women's Prize for Fiction and National Poetry Day. For book prizes and other partners, a bespoke package will be created to engage the communities and groups you want to reach. Costs will be provided on request. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your campaign.