The Literary Liberation Box provided a huge amount of material to help booksellers use IndieBound to promote their stores ... and that may have left some wondering exactly where to start. Stephanie Anderson of Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has helped ABA create an easy, 10-step guide, based on her experience introducing IndieBound to her bookstore and to the surrounding community.
1. Share with your staff. Give everyone a copy of the IndieBound Fan Manual and a few rally cards, bookmarks, and other Liberation Box items to take home. Get them excited about all of the new possibilities, and make sure they're comfortable explaining IndieBound to customers. This is definitely the most important step.
Anderson said: "Yesterday I overheard a bookseller talking to a customer who said, 'Yeah, I remembered you talking about indie stores at the picnic the other day, so I made sure I came here today to get this book.' If the staff is excited, they're even going to take it outside the store, and that is awesome."
2. Hang your EAT SLEEP READ poster in a prominent window. Passersby will definitely take notice.
Anderson said: "Also very true, and it draws people in."
3. Put a "We're IndieBound" decal on your door or in your window -- and give the extras to your independent retail neighbors. It's an easy way to start a conversation about promoting local businesses in your community.
4. Display the new Indie Next List fliers along with your Next List book display. A great chance to freshen up your recommended-titles shelf.
5. Use the new Indie Bestseller Lists on your bestseller shelves or tables and display together with your local bestsellers.
6. Create a display of titles that echo some aspect of the IndieBound message. There's a list of recommended Shop Local titles on BookWeb, but there are so many other books that get the same message across -- children's, cookbooks, science fiction. Be as broad or as specific as you like!
Anderson said: "Note for smaller/mid-sized stores -- I know this is not necessarily the season to bring in multiples of titles, but we have noticed that our 'IndieBound table' is selling through nicely, so either bring in several copies of the books that you think will move, or be prepared to reorder."
7. If you're involved with an independent business alliance or local first group, display any of your local group signage with IndieBound material to enhance the impact. Connect with your local groups about IndieBound -- send them some materials and brainstorm ways you can use IndieBound to promote your local initiative.
8. Add an IndieBound logo to your store's newsletter (and posters, and bookmarks, etc.), and include a feature on the movement. You could tie it in to any of your own initiatives, or use the language from the materials. Make it as simple or involved as you like.
9. Send out a press release to local newspapers about IndieBound. The localism movement is newsworthy, and it may help you build a connection with the local press. Use the templates in the Public Relations Primer to get a head start.
Anderson said: "This has paid off handsomely for us! Beginning in August, we are going to be in the Sunday paper every week with a listing of our top five local bestsellers in 10 rotating categories -- free publicity that takes me an hour to do each week, in a paper with obscenely expensive advertising no less. They told me they'd been thinking about it anyway, but hearing from us again is what helped."
10. Put your name in the "Here's What You Just Did" editable PDF and hang it on your door or use it as a bag stuffer. Remind your customers why it's so important to shop independent.
Anderson said: You can resize them small enough (half-page) to slide in the front of books as well. As part of our in-store green initiative, we've started asking every customer if they need a bag, and since over half answer no, the piece of paper needs to be small enough to tuck in the front of the book with a receipt."
Stephanie Anderson is assistant book buyer at Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She shares news and her thoughts about books, the goings-on at her store and other bookstores, and the books she reads on her blog, bookavore.com.