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Out of the Box Marketing for Booksellers - cardinalrulepress.com


A note from the editor: A new year means new sales goal for your bookstore and if you want to crush them, you’re going to need to think outside of the box for your 2019 marketing plan. Today’s post is part 1 in a 3 part series designed to help think outside of the box and get creative in their marketing efforts. Parts two and three will publish in February and March, respectively.  While this post is written for booksellers, if you are a librarian these techniques may also work for you.


Chances are that you’ve been doing storytime at your bookstore for quite awhile. It likely follows this format, you choose three or four books based around a single topic or theme to read aloud for adults and the children they’ve brought with them. You might sing a few songs and there may or may not be a craft or coloring activity at the end. You’ve got a small to medium sized crowd of regulars who show up but you’re on the hunt for fresh and exciting ways to bring people into your store.  

Here at Cardinal Rule Press, we’re on a mission to help you think outside of the marketing box with your 2019 plan and we’ve come up with two fresh ways to put a twist on your storytime.

Pro tip: With any storytime you host, make sure to have a call to action, inviting participants to take the next step and make a purchase. Use this time to highlight a new book arrival, invite everyone to stop by the cafe for coffee, or to show a new product.

Invite a “local” celebrity or everyday hero to be your guest reader.

The options are endless with this idea, but inviting a local celebrity to read at your storytime is a great way to bring new people in the door. A local celebrity gives you a fresh marketing angle, you can create additional buzz about their visit. You can advertise their appearance with flyers in your store, postcards on your counter, by sharing on social media and by created a Facebook event to collect RSVP’s.

Here are a few local celebrities we think would draw new people to your store:

    • Mayor
    • Fireman
    • Policeman
    • Mail Carrier
    • Mascot (high school, professional sports team or semi pro team)
    • Radio Host
    • Weatherman
  • News Anchor

Because you’ll want to maximize your event, we recommend hosting your local celebrity storytime on the weekends so that families can include attending your event as part of their weekend fun.

Collaborate with a local children’s performer.   

Another great way to enhance your storytime is to invite a children’s entertainer to join you. You’ll have to reverse engineer this a little bit, think of the categories of entertainers who would benefit from being a guest at your storytime,  then pitch a collaboration instead of booking them directly. This is a win-win for both of you, they’ll get additional exposure to their target market while at the same time enhancing your event.

We think the following collaborations would work nicely between a storytime and children’s performer:

    • Children’s music class teachers
    • Magicians
    • Clowns
  • Costumed characters (people who will come dressed up as Princesses or SuperHeros)

Remember, this is a collaboration so you’ll want make sure to include your performer in when you plan your storytime. It’s our recommendation that storytime begins with the reading and ends with the performance, since performances typically bring out all of the excited energy in little movers.

Want even more great out of the box ideas? Come back next month when we share creative ways to use social media!


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NJ Rongner is a digital marketing expert who consumes books like she does air. She loves marketing, books, coffee and living in MA (although not necessarily in that order).

Cardinal Rule Press

P.O. Box 930237 • Wixom, MI 48393
info@cardinalrulepress.com