Booksellers Could See Times' Book Cash This Week

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This month, the New York Times began sending Book Cash checks as a gift to consumers who upgraded from a trial to a full subscription to the newspaper. It is expected that the Times' Book Cash check, which is good for $10 towards payment for any book purchase, will be distributed to as many as 20,000 consumers. Booksellers could start seeing customers with the checks as early as this week.

The Times' Book Cash promotion should drive traffic into stores and raise the national awareness of Book Sense, said Jill Perlstein, Book Sense director of marketing services. "The New York Times Book Cash checks will list the participating retailers," she explained. "It will also include the Book Sense toll-free number and the address to help consumers find a participating bookstore."

Book Cash is a nationwide promotional program coordinated by The Properties Group. The New York Times is using the check as part of a retention effort for new subscribers. All those new readers who begin a special half-price, 12-week trial subscription to the Times will be contacted after eight weeks to upgrade to a full subscription. The Times' Book Cash check will be a gift for signing up for the full subscription. Certificates including the checks will be mailed to eligible subscribers. The checks have an expiration date of January 31, 2003.

No sign-up is required to participate in the Times' Book Cash promotion -- any ABA member store with Book Sense is automatically part of the program. As in previous Book Cash promotions, bookstores should accept the check as if it were a personal check or a traveler's check and collect any other money due to complete the sale. When accepting a Book Cash check, cashiers should look for the Book Cash logo and the authorized signature of John S. Galinos, and verify the expiration date on the check (no expired checks should be accepted). The checks should then be deposited into the store's bank account.

Click here to view the Book Cash certificate as a PDF file.

Importantly, storeowners should make sure all frontline staff have a clear understanding of the Book Cash promotion, said Perlstein. She noted that the August white box includes a "Cashier Handling Procedures" information sheet, which should be posted in the store, along with a Book Cash FAQ. Moreover, "store owners should place signs in the store, particularly at the cash-wrap, noting that ‘Book Cash is Accepted Here,'" she said.

For more information, e-mail Perlstein at [email protected] or call (800) 637-0037, ext. 1283.