Independent Bookstore Day is an excellent way to get new customers into your store, increase sales, and celebrate indie bookselling.
Participating stores reported increased sales, anywhere from 20%-275% over the same day the previous year.
Tip: Booksellers report IBD is a great way to merchandise and sell backlist associated with the special items.
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. 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.