I feel like I talk about Google Alerts quite often, but when I researched the Books & Whatnot archives, I found this one mention in a piece about claiming your Google Place.
Google Alerts come in handy so you can keep your finger on the pulse of what is being “said” about you online. If you have a Google account, you can set up an alert to be notified if anything is posted about you, your bookstore, or your employees.
You can find Google Alerts at this URL: http://www.google.com/alerts. Here’s a screenshot of my Google Alerts set-up page (after I removed the alerts for everyone I’m stalking.) The screen in the middle is what appears when you select the settings cog, so you can tell Google when you want to receive notifications and how often.
But here is the actual 300 Seconds tip. You do not have to limit Google Alerts to you and your employees. Use the searching power of Google to do research for you. Do you have a slate of author events lined up for the summer and early fall? Set up a Google Alert for those authors, and you will be notified if there are online interviews, reviews, or other nuggets of information you might want to share with your customers prior to the visit. When you no longer want to receive alerts on specific authors, just hit the trash can icon next to their names.