Do you believe in Book Fairies? (and how to become one)

28 Sep 2017
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Photos from @bookfairies_singapore

Did you know that the Book Fairies have landed in Singapore!? We chatted with one to know what their magical job entails. Find out how you can become one too! 

1. Are there any rules for a civilian leaving books out there? (E.g. Am I allowed to leave a wrapped 50 Shades of Grey lying around such that a child might pick it up to read?)

We book fairies adhere to a code of ethics that will protect unsuspecting residents from books that are too political, religious or sexy. Likewise we won't set books free on buses, trains or MRT stations etc. so commuters won't become suspicious or worse afraid of books. 

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2. Have you or other book fairies received any messages from people who picked up the books and liked/disliked it? 

To our greatest disappointment, we received only little feedback from finders in Singapore so far. I usually stick a note in the books to encourage the finder to take a pic and post his find online using the hashtag #ibelieveinbookfairies and ideally tag me so I can re-post it. Nothing better than to share the joy!

3. Does any book fairy lie around waiting to see who picks up a book? 

If we have the time to do so, yes. It's great to see how people do very differently react to a present... and some probably think they are being filmed for Candid Camera!

4. Has any reader kinda 'passed it forward' (i.e. give away the same book they picked up after reading it) 

Yes! We already had one book that was found at the Wessex Tavern and then was set free a few days later at LaSalle! (We suspect a literary buff with an interest in arts and preference for quiche as lunch.) 

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5. Has any book fairy gotten into trouble with the security guards or authorities while placing the books in public places/ monuments?

No trouble with security guards in Singapore yet … But we heard of one book fairy overseas who nearly got locked in a museum! Here in Singapore, I tend to quickly make my way out of coffee shops as otherwise the all too helpful staff comes running after us shouting that we apparently forgot something! Oh, and taxi uncles are excellent fairy assistants :) 

6. Leaving how many books at one spot is a good number?

Some very generous sponsors, i.e. indie bookshops or authors, donated more than one copy of the same book, and in these cases I like to drop up to three books in one spot as a) they are more easily spotted this way and b) it makes for really fab snapshots! (But normally, you would just hide the one book you just finished reading.) 

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7. Where is the loveliest place that you've left a book at?

I personally like the book shelf at a bus stop in Jurong East a lot, so I went back to that place just a few days ago when we celebrated #hideabookday together with Goodreads when they turned 10 years old. Our followers on Instagram seem to prefer the little free library on Wolskel Road (and of course, cats! That picture got loads of likes too.)

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8. How can one be a successful book fairy?

All you need are stickers, books and the intrinsic wish to spread the joy of reading! I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but honestly what’s better than getting lost in a good story?! (And one that is for free on top!)

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9. For Singaporean book fairies, do we order the stickers via the UK website, or is there a local office we could pick the stickers up?

Yes, stickers have to be ordered through We tried to have them printed in Singapore but that was unfortunately more costly. And as a strict non-profit organisation we only want to charge the lowest possible cost. A stack of stickers to be sent from HQ in London to Singapore does cost about $9 SGD including the shipping. (You can opt to pay via Paypal and be charged in SGD).  

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Steps to become a book fairy:

  1. Order some stickers here
  2. Stick it on the book you want to share
    (You could also add a ribbon or a note!)
  3. Find a hiding spot for the book
  4. Hide it
  5. Wait for someone to pick it up!