A Roundup of Results From BTW’s One-Second Survey

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Over the last several months, hundreds of readers have responded to Bookselling This Week’s one-second survey. Here’s a snapshot of the results, from whether they offer free Wi-Fi to who writes in the margins when reading, from how they share to-do lists with employees to if they’ve got a community bulletin board, and so much more.

Of the options given each week, here’s what responding booksellers said:

  • Booksellers reported a range of non-book inventory, with a third saying their store has 0-10% non-book; a third saying their store has more than 20%; and the remainder in between
  • Just over half of stores (51%) report offering free Wi-Fi, while 46% don’t offer it at all and 3% offer paid Wi-Fi
  • 22% of stores report using SEO tools for optimizing their website’s visibility on search engines and 17% do not; the majority (61%) use these tools “sometimes”
  • 80% of stores reported recently using radio for advertising, while 10% recently used podcasting and 10% TV
  • Of the booksellers who attended this year’s Children’s Institute, their favorite part was education sessions (63%) followed by the author reception (21%) and the costume party (16%)
  • Most booksellers (42%) planned to read between 11 and 30 books over the summer; 40% planned to read up to 10; and 18% planned to read more than 30
  • 68% of booksellers pull their store’s books to the front of the shelves, while 32% push them to the back
  • Booksellers voted for their favorite author biopics, including Becoming Jane (54%), Iris (21%), and The Man Who Invented Christmas (25%)
  • 76% of booksellers do not write in the margins while reading, but 24% do
  • 26% of stores report having a formal onboarding process for new employees, 39% do not, and 35% “somewhat” have a process
  • Booksellers also voted for their favorite BTW columns: Small Press Profiles (48%), What’s in a Name? (44%), and Welcome to ABA! (8%)
  • To make connections with local teachers during the school year, 50% of booksellers report doing discounts for teachers, 15% hold teacher nights, and 35% do both
  • 21% of stores still allow customers to purchase books on house accounts, 47% don’t, and 32% only allow it for VIP customers
  • 59% of stores primarily use custom-built shelves; 41% use pre-made
  • 71% of booksellers had a different career before entering bookselling, while 29% were born booksellers
  • On how many cash registers each store has, the responses showed most have two to five (58%), many have just one (39%), and only 3% have more than five
  • When sharing notes or to-do lists with employees, 60% reported using paper, 18% use email, and 22% use Google Drive, Slack, or a similar service
  • 11% of booksellers reported being the only staffer at their store; 60% said they had 1-10 additional staff; 29% said they had more than 10 additional staff
  • 73% of stores give out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween; 15% do not; and 12% offer something other than candy
  • 70% of stores report having a community bulletin board hanging in their store, while 30% do not
  • Most bookstores (87%) report keeping a first-aid kit on hand
  • It’s a split between brown thumbs and green: 45% report not having plants in their store, while 55% do
  • For online video sharing, 19% report using YouTube, 2% Vimeo, and 79% none at all
  • And for Instagram, 8% of stores report having a dedicated space for photo ops
  • 80% of stores give out store-branded bookmarks with purchase
  • 52% of stores hold an employee holiday party, while 48% do not
  • 64% of stores extend their hours around the holidays, and 36% don’t

Check Bookselling This Week each Wednesday for a new one-second survey and catch the results in the following week’s issue. If you don’t want to miss out, subscribe to Bookselling This Week now.