On Thursday, June 17, the American Booksellers Association held an education session called “Consigning Books and Other Products to Local Retailers.” A recording of the session and handouts can be viewed here.
Bookseller speakers included:
- Kathy Burnette, Brain Lair Books (South Bend, Indiana)
- Rebekah Shoaf, Boogie Down Books (Bronx, New York)
- Jenny Cohen, Waucoma Bookstore (Hood River, Oregon)
Here are the top tips from the session:
- Consigning books and merchandise to other retailers is just one of the many ways you can work to build community with local businesses and institutions.
- Partnerships are not only opportunities for sales, but marketing as well. By placing your books in a new space, you can reach new customers and a wider audience.
- Consider your store’s mission and how consignment fits in. Consignment partnerships should be established with your store’s values and goals in mind.
- Trust is key. Know your partner and know their space.
- Create a system for managing consignment. Set a schedule for restocking books curated for spaces and use a written agreement to establish the parameters of each partnership your store has.
- Each partnership will be different, so be prepared to reach partners where they’re at and adjust your plans to what will work best for that particular space.
- When thinking about how to merchandise your stock in a new space, consider if your partner is retail-focused or not. Retail-focused partners will likely know where books will sell the best, whereas non-retailers might need more assistance.
- Check in with community partners regularly to see what is working and what can be improved.
- Plan for any extra time consignment partnerships might need — the booksellers speakers said it usually takes only a couple extra hours a week to maintain and refresh the consigned merchandise.
- Keep your store’s identity in mind as well — make your presence known in partner spaces through signage, shelf-talkers, bookmarks, and social media.