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Independent Bookstore Day is an excellent way to get new customers into your store, increase sales, and celebrate indie bookselling.
Last year, virtually all participating stores in California reported increased sales, anywhere from 20%-275% over the same day the previous year. The 93 California stores saw a collective increase of $150,000.
Tip: Booksellers report IBD is a great way to merchandise and sell backlist associated with the special items.
Getting the word out: publicizing Independent Bookstore Day
We will be working hard to get the word out nationwide. We are working on getting publicity in major print, radio and TV outlets.
BUT WE NEED YOU TO REACH OUT TO YOUR CUSTOMERS AND COMMUNITIES if this is going to work. We need you to leverage all of your outreach to help get the word out.
And the word is not just “come and buy some of these cool things.” The word is “join the party!”
What to do right now:
• Link to IBD (www.cabookstoreday.com)! on your store’s home page There is a downloadable logo on our website that you are free to use however you want to promote the day. These URLS lead to the webpage: www.cabookstoreday.com, www.indiebookstoreday.com, www.independentbookstoreday.com
• Include a countdown clock to IBD on your homepage. (available for free here: http://www.timeanddate.com/clocks/freecountdown.html)
• Create an IBD-specific page on your website. We have images for all IBD items that you are free to use. Make sure you list all the details about your store’s IBD plans & events. The sooner you have this page created, the more likely it is that we can link directly to it from our searchable database of participating stores. Make one now, populate it later.
• SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS! Create Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts if you don’t already have them (please see our social media tip sheet).
• SCHEDULE YOUR EVENTS. We can use your events to promote the day nationally. The more creative, the better.
What to do in March:
• Reach out to local media including city and neighborhood papers, TV and radio. Small newspapers are always looking for stories—they’ll be glad to hear from you. We have a press releases template on the website’s media section. All you have to do is fill in your store’s details and email it out.
• Start selling IBD bags and merchandise in your store. Get the conversation started.
Contact Hut Landon at firstname.lastname@example.org to order bags.
• Mention IBD in your March newsletter. Build excitement and anticipation.
What to do in April:
• Mention local and favorite authors on Twitter (they may retweet). If they plan on attending, even if it’s just to shop, ask them to tweet about it. Continue promoting events and items via social media daily.
• Do a splashy email newsletter inviting your customers to your party on May 2.
• Talk up IBD in the store & make sure your entire staff is on board.
• Send out your event listing to local calendars.
• Make it visible: Create bookmarks, signage, window displays or bag stuffers promoting IBD and your party on that day!
As you start planning your store’s Bookstore Day celebration, please let us know what you are doing via email, Twitter and Facebook. Exchanging ideas about events and promotion will help lift all boats.
Social Media Tip Sheet
Increasing your social media influence directly impacts the number of people who see you and can make a huge difference for your store on Independent Bookstore Day and beyond. And it’s free!
• Consider joining Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, if you are not already active on any social media sites.
• If you are already active, your goal is to add 50+ Facebook friends, follow 50+ relevant people on Twitter, follow 50+ on Instagram.
• Follow @bookstoreday and Facebook/bookstoreday and share our posts! Follow other bookstores, authors and publishers. Follow @greenapplebooks, @greenlightbklyn, @vromans, and @Politics_Prose. They all do a very good job with Twitter
• Consider buying social tools to increase community: FB ads, Twitter post promoting, Instagress
• Use Followerwonk to find Twitter social influencers by searching for key words pertaining to books, bookselling, publishing, the shop local movement, cultural community, etc.
• Engage with social influencers by starting conversations, commenting on post and sharing content - 5X per day
• Social Posting Schedulers: Using a social scheduler will make your life much simpler. You can plan out all of your posts for the day in the morning and it will free up time to work on other campaign needs. Consider using: Hootsuite or Buffer
How to Make Bookstore Day a Smashing Success
Independent Bookstore Day is not just about the limited-edition books and items we will be selling that day. It’s about the culture of books, reading and indie bookselling. It is a celebration of everything we do right!
While the special items are a major draw (and certainly deserve a creative display and lots of attention), we don’t want to customers to simply pop in, grab what they came for, and leave.
This is a chance to surprise and delight loyal and new customers alike. It is a chance to show off our value beyond the merchandise we sell, and welcome customers into a chummy, close relationship with our stores. The key to a great IBD is throwing a great party.
These will not all work for every store, but we hope they will get you thinking about creative and new ways to provide a fun, welcoming, insider experience for the people who enter your store on May 2.
• Invite authors to read, but invite them to shop, sell, or sing karaoke too
• Author events should NOT be limited to the authors involved in IBD.
• Ask a favorite author to make a list of the ten books that have changed their lives and then create a display.
• Set up a “Psychology 5¢” booth with a funny author.
• Ask a cookbook author to do passed hors d’oeuvres, or a famous libertine to mix cocktails.
• Get a children’s author to do a mini seminar on how to create a children’s book. Or draw a character.
• Create a quiz show where authors have to answer questions about something far outside their expertise (see: NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me).
• Create a "get your portrait drawn" station but have it run by an awesome illustrator. Think about the Joke Book contributors -- buy the book, get a one-minute portrait?
Events without authors:
• Have a book club led by a staff member or customer to discuss the newest book by one of the IBD authors (Roxane Gay?). Their fans are going to be there anyway, offer them some community and a lively discussion.
• Have someone lead a simple craft or art project for kids. Maybe “Drawing Your Favorite Characters.” Maybe “Collages from your favorite books.”
• Have a literary quiz show for customers with prizes and bragging rights.
• Set up a mic. and a large collection of poetry books and invite customers to read their (one) favorite. This could be ongoing all day.
• Get local actors to dress up as characters from books and wander around interacting with people in the store (Dickens Fair style)• Hold a different event for every hour you’re open. This can be as simple as “free donut hour” from 10-11. Mimosas from 11-12, and so on.
• Have a small jazz trio play browsing music during “cocktail hour”
Bring customers in beyond the IBD display. We hope you will create a big and beautiful display of the IBD items and books, but we hope that May 2 is a record day for you storewide. Last year, while CBD items sold very well, most stores saw their major sales increases in regular inventory.
• Plant simple prizes, coupons or treasures throughout the store and sections. This doesn’t have to be monetary. It could be a handwritten note from an author recommending their favorite books. It could be some simple positive reinforcement—notes that say things like, “You are smart and beautiful. We’ve noticed.”
• Re-curate sections so that regular customers don’t just see the same old fiction, non-fiction, cooking, and kids sections. Instead they might see sections called “A cure for melancholia” or “Loveable criminals” or “Books that will make you sexy” over a clever display of books from across all sections and genres.
• And don’t forget to decorate! Balloons and streamers. Displays. Life size drawings of the IBD or CBD logo!
Feed the people:
• Have a taco or burger or ice cream truck in front of the store
• Offer the first 25 or 100 customers a mimosa in the morning
• Invite literary and/or educational non-profits to hold a bake sale in front of the store that day.