Jack McKeown and Denise Berthiaume, two publishing industry veterans, plan to open Books & Books Westhampton Beach in Westhampton, New York, on July 1. The 2,000-square-foot store will be affiliated with Florida landmark Books & Books, owned by Mitchell Kaplan. Kaplan has served as an advisor to the Westhampton store, which will be independently owned and managed by Berthiaume and McKeown. Plans call for Kaplan and his Books & Books marketing staff to continue to offer guidance to Books & Books Westhampton Beach on a range of issues, including strategic and operational matters, marketing programs and seasonal promotions, website development, and events.
The layout and design of the Westhampton Beach store will be modeled on the Books & Books locations on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach and in the Bal Harbour Shops mall.
"Everything will be headlined 'Books & Books,' because that's a name that resonates within the publishing world to such a large degree," Berthiaume said. "We will be working together to extend that recognition further into the Internet as well, by using the resources of our Verso Digital online network to reach consumers directly."
Berthiaume is the president of Verso Advertising, an agency that focuses on marketing and publicity for the book industry. Verso will work with Kaplan's stores and Books & Books Westhampton Beach to reach a wide range of customers.
McKeown, an industry consultant and co-founder and former CEO of Perseus Books Group, noted that Verso's 2009 survey of book-buying habits shows that there is a place for an independent bookstore that can connect with customers. "Our research has indicated that the market for consumer books will be a hybrid of physical books and e-books for decades to come," he said. "Older Americans, especially retiring Baby Boomers, are disproportionately avid book buyers; more and more they want the intimate browsing experience that neighborhood bookstores afford. Younger readers as well express a preference for independent bookstores. We think this association with Books & Books can help us tap into these trends in a big way."
McKeown, who presented Verso's 2009 survey results at ABA's Winter Institute in February, will present the results of a new survey of book-buying behavior during ABA's Day of Education, sponsored by Ingram, at BookExpo America.