How We Sell Backlist: Third Place Books

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    In this new occasional series highlighting ABA’s campaign to promote more backlist titles, Bookselling This Week will explore how ABA member booksellers are successfully selling, promoting, and displaying backlist books at stores around the country.

    Summer reading display at Third Place Books in Seattle
    Third Place Books in Seattle included a number of backlist titles in the store's summer reading display.

    This first primarily backlist book display comes from Third Place Books, which has locations in Lake Forest Park, Ravenna, and Seward Park, Washington. According to Third Place managing partner and ABA Board president Robert Sindelar, since Third Place staff created the store’s 2017 summer reading table, at least one staff pick, The Awesome by Eva Darrows, has gone from selling only a couple of copies historically to nine copies in July alone.

    Backlist books on Third Place Books’ “Summer Reading with TPB” table include:

    • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2009)
    • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (Picador, 2013)
    • The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak (Regan Arts, 2015)
    • The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse (first published in 1938 by Doubleday, Doran; 2011 W.W. Norton edition)
    • The Awesome by Eva Darrows (Ravenstone, 2015)
    • Terrier by Tamora Pierce (Ember, 2007)
    • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki (First Second, 2014)
    • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Riverhead, 2014)
    • Saga by Brian J. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples (first published in 2012 by Image Comics; 2014 Image Comics deluxe edition)

    As part of ABA’s campaign to highlight backlist, in addition to this new column, the association is also launching a new Maximizing Backlist education session at the regional fall trade shows. The session, to be co-led by ABA senior staff and Board members, will explore proven ways to market, promote, and sell backlist titles and include a discussion about how taking advantage of backlist offers from publishers can be beneficial to a store’s bottom line.