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Cool Things Bookstores are Doing

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Thursday, July 16, 2015

Today’s column will deal with cool things bookstores come up with to offer customers outside of the traditional bookselling and author events, book clubs and readings.  SIBA maintains a Pinterest Board Cool stuff bookstores do besides sell books. You can send cool things you are doing that can be added to the board and share them with other stores, if you’d like.  Send them to wanda@sibaweb.com. Shows, like GABBS & SIBA, other Regional Shows, Winter Institute, and BEA, are a great way to have the time to talk with colleagues about what they are doing and attend sessions about new programs or concepts that are sweeping the bookstore community with loads of success for many.

Here are some of the cool things going on around us: 

·         Sell store swag.  Use local printers or an online affiliate like cafepress or zazzle.

·         Make it easy for customers to support their local schools online and bill it as a year-round Book Fair.

·         Offer Tarot Card Readings or Runes Readings in store.

·         Offer classes on a variety of topics using local experts.  Engage a local college or university.

·         Host a BookSwap!

·         Put together a Frequent Buyers or Store Loyalty program.

·         Offer Volunteer and Internship Opportunities.  Use www.idealist.org

·         Use your staff recommendations as social networking content.  Take photos of your Staff Picks Section and share the comments booksellers are making.  You could even give your Staff Picks their own Facebook page or Twitter board.

Some ideas take a lot of pre-planning and some only take a few minutes and a few items.  Don’t be afraid to try different things and if they don’t catch on, give it up and move on the next idea.  Don’t marry ideas.  They are not good long-term partners. 

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) have partnered up in many ways that have proved beneficial but we mostly want all of our efforts to benefit booksellers and with that goal in mind, BBN has agreed to give us a little space in their popular, far-reaching newsletter.  So, a few housekeeping details.  We are hoping to benefit all booksellers but a few columns may be SIBA-specific and we’ll let you know up front when that’s the case.  We’d also like to invite booksellers to offer up guest posts if you have an idea or concept that you’d like to share, simply email wanda@sibaweb.com.

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