Here’s a thought – and I’m channeling Grumpy Cat, just FYI – don’t any of you read books? I know you must, because I know a lot of people who DO read books, and surely I know YOU. Or maybe not.
My point is that here I sit, while everyone is Christmas shopping – at Amazon? Maybe. Or maybe you already finished shopping. Or maybe you don’t give books as gifts. Beats the hell out of me.
And it’s true, we don’t usually carry bestsellers, but we can order them for you. And we have a lot of great titles, in spite of them not being on “that list.” In fact, we have our OWN list!
And a lot of people don’t seem to realize we’re here, even after two-plus-years. Even the ones who park their big damn SUVs right in front of the store, and then wander off to eat lunch or have their nails done for a couple hours.
I see posts and hear people talking about “shop local” all the time – but when it comes right down to it, these same people “like” pages and talk about “great deals” at big box stores. That’s where the advertising is, that’s where the “deals” are. I guess.
My point – wait, I already said that – my OTHER point is that we have nine months left on our store lease and it’s time to make some decisions. And this Christmas shopping season is definitely making me think twice.
Here are some of my thoughts (as a regular customer):
Signage: The first time I was looking for a store, I had a hard time finding it. If I hadn’t looked at the street level view on Google maps, I might not have. The small “Bookstore” sign above the business is not a great advertiser of what All on the Same Page is from the street. I don’t know if you have any control over this, or if it’s financially feasible to change it.
New Books: Personally, I love the local authors section for new books, but maybe it’s not for everyone. Do you have people asking for best sellers? Would those be prohibitive to stock a few new? I’m also ok waiting for a book on order, but I have 70+ in the TBR pile. Others are probably after more instant gratification.
Advertising and Promotion: I’ve seen glimpses of some things concerning book bundles at the store, but I couldn’t tell you what’s bundled or what the discount is. Perhaps more of an itemized focus on things like that would draw people in for specific purchases.
Given street visibility is low, and most of your media outlets are probably reaching existing customers, are there any other reasonably priced advertising options? Maybe work with the local authors to see about putting an ad in their books? I’m sure there are other creative options here that could be reasonably priced or free.
Just some thoughts off the top of my head. I hate to hear about the store struggling.
Well, the “small” sign on the roof is regulation size, so no help there; for another $5K, I could light it. The few who ask for other new books which, by the way, we initially stocked, do so via order. We can supply those within 3 days, typically. And we ship, as well as deliver. As for “seeing glimpses,” well, that’s kind of the point – that people come in to see EXACTLY what’s there. And we do specific ads too.
We used to advertise locally with the Patch, but they’re all but gone now and what’s left is just ridiculous. No readership. We’ve tried different things, some work, some don’t.
And I wouldn’t say “struggling,” exactly. I just get really, really tired of people coming in and leaving and saying, “Oh, I’ll just order than on Amazon,” or “Oh, have you read ______? I just bought it on Amazon!” Nice.
When we first opened, we did direct mail to EVERY household in CC. Some of these people are still coming in and asking when we opened! Sheesh.
As someone who’s responsible for direct mail for a non-profit, I understand that phenomenon completely. Several years in, and we still get “I didn’t even know you guys were in town.”
Yes. That. I’m starting to think the best way is to grab people off the street and shove a book in their faces, lol!
Wait – that gives me an idea! But I’ll need volunteers!!!!!!!!!