As we all know, bookstores are happily making a comeback. So much so, that even Amazon has created their own brick-and-mortar concept. However, these Amazon stores are opposite of our local mom-and-pop shops. The Amazon store in Chicago, for example, feels more like a Best Buy than a neighborhood bookstore. It’s a great place to come and grab the latest bestseller, but not a place where you’d go to lose yourself, enjoy a cozy coffee with a friend, or bring your kids for Storytime.
Donna Paz Kaufman, an independent indie bookstore trainer and consultant, points out that the indie bookstores are on the rise because they are more than just places to buy books (source: CityLab.com). “A bookstore is somewhat of a sacred place to people, especially to readers, so bookstore owners must create that type of place that people want to be,” Kaufman says.
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Here are some additional ideas on how you can differentiate yourselves and create a space people are drawn to, in the age of the “Best Buy bookstore.”
Create a store book club and/or offer to host neighborhood book clubs in your store. Provide wine, light snacks, and a warm (and unique!) environment for conversation. You may need to be willing to host these after-hours so as not to disrupt your daily store activities, but those that use your space for book clubs will surely become devoted customers and raving fans to others.
Create Community by hosting events inside and outside your shop, ranging from special author readings and themed dinners to crafting classes or neighborhood tours. Have some extra space? Consider using it to showcase a local author or young musician. Through these types of events, you are establishing your store as a community hub and place for celebration. In addition, you’re giving customers more and more reasons to visit!
No matter how technology advances, bookstores will continue to be important. Customers are looking for things that bring comfort and connection. The experience customers have when they visit your store can and will be priceless, if you are willing to create it.
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~ Your Marketing friends at Cardinal Rule Press
PS Founder of CRP, Maria Dismondy, recently spoke an event at The Detroit Writing Room along with other amazing children’s books authors. Devin Scillian, David Small , Sarah Stewart, Lisa Rose and Amy Nielander. Maria represented Cardinal Rule Press while sporting some new promotional buttons we ordered from Sticker Mule!
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