Best Practices

17 Sep

Adding to the Bottom Line With Self-Published Titles

Although "growth market" may not apply to much these days, one area of burgeoning sales for some indie booksellers is self-published titles. According to Bowker, from 2007 to 2008 there was a 132-percent jump in the number of new books published by print-on-demand companies.

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04 Mar

Seven Ways to Avoid Employee Fraud

As evidenced by some of today's biggest headlines, in harsh economic times, white collar crime comes to the fore as thefts that have been going on for a while are exposed, and desperate circumstances drive an increasing number of previously law-abiding citizens to break the law.

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19 Feb

Surviving Tough Times: Booksellers' Best Practices

In November 2008, as the economic downturn started to spread across the retail landscape, American Booksellers Association staff attempted to contact every member bookstore. This effort was undertaken to offer ABA's help in any way possible and to assess how members were doing. As they provided status reports, however, booksellers also offered valuable insights into their unique ways of countering declining sales.

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29 Jan

Tough Times: Renegotiating a Lease, Finding a Better Utility Rate

To stay afloat in a recession that shows no sign of abatement, savvy indies are cutting costs through careful planning and well-thought-out business decisions. For some, this includes renegotiating a lease or signing on with a lower-cost utility provider.

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20 Nov

Booksellers Ramp Up Strategic Marketing Plans: Part Two

With retailers sharply competing for fewer consumer dollars, holiday bargains are being trumpeted early and everywhere. While many booksellers are adding discounts to the marketing mix, they're also emphasizing creative and community-minded campaigns.

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13 Nov

Bookselling in Tough Times: Loss Control

Booksellers who think loss control is not a store's top priority, especially when times are tough and profits are harder to come by, should talk to David Bolduc of Boulder Book Store in Colorado. If it weren't for the steps he started taking some 25 years ago to secure his bookstore, Bolduc's store could be losing around $80,000 per year in shrinkage.

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13 Nov

Meeting the Struggling Economy Head-On: Booksellers Ramp Up Strategic Marketing Plans

In light of a significant decline in consumer spending in the weeks leading up to the holiday season, retailers nationwide are creating proactive and strategic marketing promotions to ramp up their sales, cash flow, and visibility. Last week, a report in the New York Times noted that "seven weeks before Christmas, stores are offering eye-catching bargains as they struggle to move merchandise."

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13 Nov

Bookselling in Tough Times: A Roundup

In case you missed any of Bookselling This Week's previous coverage of Bookselling in Tough Times, here's a look at the resources available to help ABA member stores weather this season's economic challenges.

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06 Nov

Bookselling in Tough Times: Cash Flow

While the results of the presidential election have removed at least some of the uncertainty that has been hounding retailers in the ramp up to the holiday shopping season, there are, unfortunately, still plenty of questions about the economy that won't be resolved anytime soon. Having control of cash flow will be key to determining whether your business is able to handle what lies ahead.

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06 Nov

Bookselling in an Uncertain World

By Kristen McLean, Executive Director, Association of Booksellers for Children

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30 Oct

Bookselling in Tough Times: Remainders

Effective inventory management can mean the difference between having a profitable or unprofitable store. And that's why, in both good times and bad, many booksellers turn to remainders as a way to supplement and complement their inventory without breaking the bank. The benefits of selling remainders are simple but significant: They cost less and offer a higher markup.

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23 Oct

Bookselling in Tough Times: Merchandising

At any time of year, in any kind of economy, the importance of merchandising cannot be overstated. Offering customers a visually enticing and comfortable spot to shop, with the right product and title mix, can mean the difference between a profitable season and a poor one. Considering most booksellers generally do 40 percent of their business in the fourth quarter ... well, you get the drift. Merchandising is a crucial part of increasing sales and making the most of the holiday season.

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16 Oct

Bookselling in Tough Times: Staffing

During tough times, it's imperative that booksellers control costs. Payroll represents approximately 20 percent of a store's costs (while inventory constitutes 60 percent), so taking control of staffing is crucial for stores looking to weather economic turmoil. Today, in a letter to booksellers, ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz recommended taking "a look back at last year's payroll for the holiday season and comparing it with sales. If [this year's] sales are down 10 percent, then payroll should be trimmed.

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09 Oct

Bookselling in Tough Times: Marketing

This week, Carole Horne of Harvard Book Store, Casey Coonerty Protti of Bookshop Santa Cruz, and John Hugo of Andover Bookstore share their tips for marketing when money is tight and the holiday season is fast-approaching. Key among their recommendations is getting the message out that books are a great gift value.

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02 Oct

Bookselling in Tough Times: Inventory Management

There is an old axiom that books and booze are recession proof, and, unfortunately, that old saw is being tested. Wall Street is in turmoil, the economy looks to be heading for a recession, and Alan Greenspan went so far as to call the current credit crisis a "once in a century" event. Recession proof or not, faced with such economic uncertainty, booksellers, like all smart businesspeople, are looking for ways to weather a downturn in business.

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About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.

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