Marketing Meetup Recap: Open Conversation

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

For the first Marketing Meetup of 2021, booksellers were invited to partake in an open conversation about the results of the feedback survey, the marketing initiatives they are starting the year with, and what they might be thinking of for the upcoming year in general.

Booksellers can view a recording of the session on the Education Resources page on

Here are some of the key points from the session:

  • This year, Schuler Books and Nicola’s Books, both in Michigan, saw the highest web sales the stores have ever had. For marketing, the stores kept their e-newsletters and social media up to date the way they would in any other time, which helped to regularly connect and communicate with customers. On Cyber Monday, the stores offered a curated list of 40 titles at a discount and saw success with customers buying not only those books, but others as well. The stores also posted videos and photos with Santa on social media during the holiday season, in addition to adding a fair amount of non-book items to their website for the first time.
  • Completely Booked in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, saw success using its regional holiday catalog and adding a discount. Ads in the local newspaper, though, didn’t work.
  • Prince Books in Norfolk, Virginia, saw immense success using SIBA’s holiday catalog, which was mailed to customers’ homes and directed to the store’s website. This year, the store will create shelves curated by age group.
  • Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle, Washington, also saw success using the PNBA holiday catalog and adding a discount. It was distributed in shopping bags and local newspapers.
  • The Briar Patch in Bangor, Maine, also saw some success by using a holiday catalog with a coupon, though not as much as in years past.
  • Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina, used Bookshop last year, which was popular with customers, especially on Black Friday weekend. This year, the store will be focusing on getting more email addresses from customers.
  • Seminary Co-op in Chicago, Illinois, invested in online engagement through paid ads on social media and Google. Analytics were especially helpful in deciding how to optimize posts going forward.
  • Many booksellers are looking for ways to gather email addresses in the new year. The Lit. Bar in the Bronx, New York, has customers sign up for its newsletter via a tablet at the cash wrap. Towne Book Center & Cafe in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, has held a monthly drawing for a gift certificate to the store; all customers needed to do was fill out a form and drop it in a fishbowl.
  • Several stores have also seen successes using the Shelf Awareness e-newsletters.
  • Author Charlie Jane Anders has created #BookTide on Twitter, which will promote bookstores to customers. Booksellers can create their own #BookTide tweets to encourage customers to shop.

Booksellers also discussed tips for marketing Valentine’s Day to customers this year. Here is some of what they had to say:

  • For Valentine’s Day, Bards Alley in Vienna, Virginia, recommends thinking about all aspects of love: love stories, love between friends, things in the world you love. Booksellers can share their favorite love stories and ask their community to share their own. 
  • Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, New York, will offer evening private shopping appointments for couples leading up to Valentine’s Day, and will also offer Valentine Book Bundles, where a customer can tell the store about their recipient and booksellers will pick books for them.
  • Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina, will be promoting lighter and romantic reads this Valentine’s Day, including the Bridgerton books following the success of the Netflix adaptation.