Scribbler’s Annual Icelandic Book Exchange
If you’ve been around our Scribblers Facebook page in the last few years, you’ll recognize the excitement that begins in October. What is the buzz about, though?
Scribbler’s Annual Icelandic Book Exchange. It’s an annual lottery-based exchange in which members of Scribbler’s Facebook page order books (and/or other small book-related gifts) and ship directly to their exchange partner.
Scribbler Aven Whitehorne, the mastermind and moderator behind the Annual Icelandic Book Exchange, was kind enough to sit down (virtually) with me to discuss it, from how it started to their favorite parts.
Q: How and why did the Icelandic Book Exchange begin?
A: In the first year of the Scribbler subscription box and community, another Scribbler posted an article about the Icelandic Christmas tradition of exchanging books as gifts. I had heard of the tradition before and loved it, and there were a few comments about how we should do something like that for Scribblers. I felt reasonably confident that I could coordinate it, so I created a sign up list. It was a lot of fun, so doing it a second year felt really natural. The second year, we had more official Scribbler participation, and more Scribblers from the Facebook group participated. Once we’d done a successful second Exchange, it felt like an established tradition and calling it an Annual Exchange felt appropriate.
Q: What is your favorite part of the Exchange?
A: I look forward to the Exchange all year. I love seeing Scribblers post that they’re so excited to start shopping for their Exchange partners, and Scribblers helping each other out with recommendations, and of course, I LOVE seeing Scribblers posting what they’ve received in the Exchange. Each year, I’m blown away by the care, thought, and love that Scribblers put into their Exchange gifts. In a world where the news often feels more bad than good, the Exchange is truly a beacon of light and joy and proof that there is still abundant goodness to be found.
Q: Have there been challenges to overcome with the Book Exchange?
A: Especially since the pandemic began, shipping, especially shipping internationally, is tricky. I ask Scribblers to indicate if they are willing to ship internationally before I make the pairings, but often I find that because of shipping deadlines, only a few international Scribblers sign up to participate. When I can, I try to group them by geographic location so that hopefully, they can get their parcels a bit quicker. It’s rare, but there have also been a few Scribblers who have signed up and then not responded to tags or messages. Luckily, the Scribbler community is absolutely incredible, and there are always Scribblers who are willing to step in and put together an Exchange box for someone who hasn’t received theirs.
Q: Can you share something that has surprised you about the Book Exchange over the past four years?
A: I had worried that I had gotten overly attached to the Exchange because I was the behind the scenes puppeteer, so hearing that other Scribblers loved it as much as I did and looked forward to the second, third, and fourth Exchanges all year like I had really felt like a triumph. The fact that this Exchange became such a beloved community bonding tradition isn’t something that I take for granted. I had no expectations that first year, but the Exchange has grown every year, and it’s gotten better each year, too!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share, or would like Scribblers to know about the Exchange?
A: You can sign up to participate in Scribbler’s Annual Icelandic Book Exchange in October the Scribbler Facebook Group. While sign ups are closed for 2021, everyone is encouraged to join the Facebook group, see this year’s exchange happen, and get excited for next year!
Aven Lumi Whitehorne holds a BA in Environmental Humanities and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, as well as certificates in Ecopsychology and Applied Mythology. They are a First Year PhD Student in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Their writing has been published in Role/Reboot and TSR: The Southampton Review.