As soon as late July hits, it can often feel like a mid-summer slump for your bookstore or library. Your summer programming and special events have kicked off but engagement is falling, your staff is in and out on their own summer vacations and perhaps the summer “BLAH’ has even set in.
It’s a little too early to start promoting your fall and holiday line up and if you’re like us here at Cardinal Rule Press, your motivation has their toes in the sand too. Which is why we think it is the perfect time to mix things up, think outside of the box and plan an event to bring a little excitement back to your shelves.
Your summer content has already been planned and is running, but what can you do entice your audience back to your books? When we compiled this list of ideas we decided that they had to be simple, exciting and easy to implement.. If you choose one of these idas, promote it the same way you promote your other events – use social media, flyers and email your newsletter list. Reminder, the name of the game is simple!
Reading Program Catch Up: At this point in the summer, readers who are likely to join in your summer reading program might feel intimidated and behind since your program started weeks ago. Reduce their barrier to reading by inviting them to join you. Use positive language, encouragement and motivation to entice them to jump in. Remind them that it’s not too late to join you and find creative ways for them to catch up.
Touch A Truck: Invite your local law enforcement, public safety department, ambulance and anyone else in town that has a fun truck to park in the parking lot. Your customers and readers can learn more about the vehicles, meet their hometown heroes and you can promote your books! Host a special story time inside and create a display of books relevant to the vehicles parked outside.
PJ Day: Declare a pajama day, ask your staff to come in their comfy and cozy and invite your customers to do the same. You can host a special bedtime story hour complete with the lights off and flashlights and sing goodnight songs. Cap the event off giving away prizes for best cozy dressed, most creative and fanciest pajamas.
Create A Giveaway: Everyone loves having the chance to win something! Create a prize package your readers can’t help but want. This could be a mixture of books, gift certificates for bakery or cafe items, swag, office supplies and other fun items. If you are a library, there is likely a local business who would love to donate a product for your giveaway! What is great about a giveaway is that you can use their entry to collect an email address so you can send email marketing communications. Giveaways should have a set time frame, entry method (such as filling out a raffle ticket) and rules about who is eligible to win.
Promote Something Other Than Books: People come to your library or bookstore for books, but what else makes your space unique and special?
- Do you an amazing barista who makes an out of this world cup of coffee or baked good?
- Can a patron sign up to read to a service animal?
- Do you host an inclusive storytime, host musical guests, book club or community meet up?
- Do you have special author readings or an open mic night?
- Do you have space to host a birthday party, meeting or baby shower?
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative ways to bring people through your doors in the summertime. Are you looking for even more great ideas on how to promote your bookstore or library? We’ve got a great guide on how to use Facebook Lives to promote your store. To receive it, enter your email address below.
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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).