Bay Books Driving In Sales with Book Sense 76

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Soon after the Book Sense 76 list debuted, Shirley Muller, owner of Bay Books of Coronado, California, had an idea about how to drive local traffic into her store. She began imprinting 10,000 copies of each new Book Sense 76 list with the Bay Books name and address and had it inserted in the local weekly newspaper, the Coronado Eagle and Journal. Muller continues to promote her store with the 76 to this day. "I noticed people coming in with the list marked, already checked -- they get it at home and they read it," she said. "More people came in because of it, and we have had very good compliments on it." Muller joins such other booksellers as Susan Novotny from the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, New York, who have found the imprinted Book Sense 76 to be a potent marketing tool.

Coronado, California, explained Muller, is a hard town to move books in. An island off the coast of San Diego, it’s a naval town, a tourist attraction, and a home to retirees. The people in this Southern California town, she continued, are best described as "very laid back." She’s learned over the years that the only way to get locals into the store is through promotion … and then, more promotion.
Though Bay Books is the only bookstore in Coronado, it is accessible from the mainland only via the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Due to this, Muller explained, some tried and true promotional events just don’t work for her store. "Book signings are almost a fiasco for us, because people don’t like to come over the bridge," she explained. "So, we have to cater to the local people."

For that reason, Muller decided to circulate a personalized Book Sense 76 list in the local paper. Along with each bimonthly delivery of the 76 in the Eagle, the store creates two six-foot Book Sense tables, both of which face a big bay window at the front of the store. Since not all 76 titles fit on the tables, the books are rotated, but Muller stressed that the staff always knows where to find the books for customers. Additionally, there are two Book Sense endcaps in the front of the store, one for the Fiction bestseller list, and one for the Nonfiction.

All told, it costs Bay Books approximately $600 for the imprint, newspaper insertion, and delivery, said Muller. But, she said, it’s well worth it. Circulating the personalized 76 "has really paid for itself," she said.

[ For more information about ordering imprinted 76s, click here.]