A Q&A With Josh Marwell on HarperCollins’ New Bookstore Development Program

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On Thursday, May 12, at BookExpo America, HarperCollins Publishers announced a New Bookstore Development Program for independent booksellers in the U.S. who are opening new stores or expanding to additional locations.

Through the program, which starts July 1, qualifying stores will be eligible for additional discounts in the form of market development and fixture funds on orders placed prior to opening and for the first three months of operation. In addition, HarperCollins will provide grants towards American Booksellers Association membership dues and three months of Above the Treeline fees.

Here, Josh Marwell, the president of sales for HarperCollins, provides additional details about the program and shares why HarperCollins chose to make this opportunity available to indie booksellers.

Bookselling This Week: What are some of the key reasons HarperCollins launched the New Bookstore Development Program?

Josh Marwell: All bookselling is local. It’s in the interest of our authors and their readers to see a bookstore on every Main Street in the country. We also know that there are communities and areas that are currently underserved that would welcome, support, and embrace a new bookstore in town. We value a diverse book ecosystem that includes the largest variety of outlets where books are available. We think that’s good for basic business, civic culture, and community life.

BTW: Why is now a promising time for such a program?

JM: The recent ongoing surge in indie business is evidence that the public has decided that they will continue to favor print books in significant numbers and buy them locally in bricks-and-mortar stores. At the same time, we are seeing a renewal of interest in owning and operating bookstores after a long drought.

BTW: What benefits do you hope to see this program provide for the indie bookstore market, both new stores and stores expanding to new locations?

JM: Opening a new store or adding an additional location is expensive, especially for a small business. Our new program is designed to give a little help during the opening period of a new store’s life through additional margin for inventory, some extra time to pay, and some relief on some fees for some key services.

BTW: How is the program going to be publicized to the indie bookstore market?

JM: The program launches on July 1. We introduced it at BEA with coverage in all major trade journals and already have received several inquiries. Moving forward, our sales reps will promote the program to existing accounts and for new accounts we will do some advertising and networking through industry channels.

For additional information on the New Bookstore Development Program, stores should contact their HarperCollins sales rep or [email protected].