Candlewick Launches Indie Marketing Program

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Independent booksellers have long been known for their handselling skills. Candlewick Press plans to encourage booksellers to use those skills through the new Candlewick's Handselling Indie Recognition Program (CHIRP).

"We're thrilled to have launched a program recognizing the artfulness and the passion with which frontline staff handsell our books" and that gives them "tools to sell more of the books they love," said Elise Supovitz, Candlewick's director of field sales.

CHIRP promotional materials landed in bookstores last week to the delight of children's booksellers. The CHIRP Box features shelf-talkers and other display materials for titles chosen by Candlewick sales staff as Rep Picks. Candlewick plans to send out the CHIRP Box each season to the first 300 stores that sign up for the program.

"'Pleasant surprise' would be a bit of an understatement," said Rebecca Fabian, children's department manager at Odyssey Bookshop, who was pleased that "a major publisher would take the time to designate an entire program that simultaneously thanks us indies for what we do for them, and that helps us do our job." Fabian mentioned "CHIRP cards," shelf-talkers that include room to suggest read-alike titles, as a highlight of the box.

One bookseller at Curious George & Friends shared the staff's enthusiasm on the store blog: "We're frequently complimented by customers on the thoughtfulness and knowledge of our staff members when recommending books. We're so happy to hear that Candlewick -- whom we love -- thinks these are valuable traits as well!"

As part of the CHIRP launch, Candlewick is also offering participating booksellers a chance to win a scholarship to ABA's sixth Winter Institute, which will be held in Washington, D.C., in 2011. Booksellers can enter the drawing by signing up for CHIRP-mail, the program's e-newsletter. The winner will be drawn on November 15 from all entries received by November 1. --Sarah Rettger