Discussion Topics for Publisher-Bookseller Focus Groups at Wi15

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In preparing for your participation in the Publisher Focus Groups, you may find it helpful to review the topics below, which publishers have let us know they are interested in discussing with booksellers. 

  • Buying

    • How/where do you learn about new titles?
    • How important are stars/reviews to you vs. peer comments on Edelweiss?
    • Do ads/marketing influence your buying?
    • Do you view book trailers when considering buys?
    • When is the ideal time to hear about new titles?
  • ARC’s

    • What percentage of ARC’s that your store receives do you and your staff read?
    • How often do you read?  Do you read digitally?
    • Are these important to your buying decisions?
    • What do you do with these afterwards?
  • Selling books

    • Overall trends this past year?  What niche do you see as a growth area?
    • What makes a sleeper? What kind of support is necessary?
    • Covers – Pet peeves and/or particular loves?
    • Graphic novels – Where do you display in your store? What types sell best?
    • Nonfiction – How are you keeping up and adapting to new trends?
  • Customer interactions

    • What drives customers to ask for a particular book?  What media do they reference?
    • How do you introduce customers to new/different reading?
  • Publisher communications

    • Do you use catalogs? Receive publisher e-newletters?  Why or why not?
    • How to best get info to stores?  What info is most useful?
    • Indie Next List – How can pubs help ID key titles for you to focus on and make it easier for you submit nominations?
  • Publisher materials

    • Promotional items – posters, bookmarks, etc. – what works, what doesn’t?
    • Displays

      • Preferences between counter and floor displays? Carton packs with easel?
      • What features do you like in a corrugated display?
      • Do free/signed copies entice you to order?
    • Publisher generated content for social media/newsletters

      • Do you use? Would you like more of?
      • How to increase awareness of this content and make available to you?
  • Store initiatives

    • Displays

      • What themes do you like to build around?
      • How do you choose books?
      • What formats work best – hardcover, paper?
    • Events – what does a successful event look like?
    • Book groups – Do you offer a meeting space?
    • Do you offer subscription boxes?
  • Working with schools

    • How can publisher help? What tools/resources can pub provide you with?
    • What can publishers do to help indies be more competitive for book fairs?
  • Publisher-store relations

    • Timeliness, efficiency of shipping?
    • Relationship with your rep?
    • Opportunities for collaboration on key promotional events throughout the year

      • i.e. Independent Bookstore Day, Children’s Book Week, Banned Books Week, Indies First/Small Business Saturday, etc.

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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