In this episode we are going to talk about how to work with brick and mortar bookstores. Barnes and Noble was recently purchased by a hedge fund.

Show Notes

Intro

  • Book stores are shrinking, but they’re never going to go away.
    • You’ve Got Mail and Fox Books
    • The Shop Around the Corner is going to stay
    • Book People in Austin
  • Listen to Episode 141 for a breakdown of Amazon’s brick and mortar strategy.
  • Where the majority of a book’s print sales come from.

What Bookstores Want:

  • Foot traffic
  • Sales
  • Good community relations, a good reputation.

How Bookstores Work

  • Catalogues, Distributors and Sales Teams.
  • B&N’s local first strategy

Tip #1 Use a Personal Touch 

There’s nothing like looking a store manager eye to eye. Once they get to know you (and hopefully like you) the rules change. They’ll do more for you and be happy to do it.

ONCE THEY GET TO KNOW YOU.

Tip #2 Realize You’re Just Another Author 

Unless your initials start with J.K. or the like, they won’t be ready to kiss your pinky ring. I could have been put out that they didn’t have stock which made me take a trip for nothing and simply left without engaging the manager in conversation. That’s the point. It didn’t turn out to be nothing. It started a relationship that turned into more sales.

Tip #3 Come loaded for bear even if you don’t think you’ll get the chance to shoot 

I was only there to sign stock so I could have walked in the store with nothing but a Sharpie. Instead, I brought three posters bookmarks, and postcards. The manager was thankful and said she’d start using the pieces right away.

I realize you can’t do this in every bookstore across the country. So do it in the ones you can. Whenever I’m driving around I’m figuring a way to drop in on a store and say a quick hello. And I’m ready whenever I travel.

Keep bookmarks and collateral in the back of your car and in your carry on when you’re out of town. Once you start looking for chances to spread the word about your book(s) more opportunities will pop into your brain like, well, popcorn.

#4 Start before you’re published

Remember the idea of telling everyone about your story?

James’ story from Seaside, OR.

#5 Bring a party.

Throw parties for your fans at bookstores. These have a bigger draw than signings and are more fun! Not a signing … your friends and family.

The Kingsman …

Drives stocking at other stores.

#6 Fish Where the Fish Are

Advanced Tip: Go to the conferences and events book store owners go to, to build relationships. Librarians too.

#7 Look for Non Standard Bookstores

Look for other kinds of stores that could stock your book as one of their products. Browse the mall looking for shops that might be a good fit for your book. Ask the question, where does my ideal customer shop?

Examples:

  • Tourist Traps
  • Specialty Stores
  • Gift shops
  • Made in Washington?

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