Birthday Club for Kids

Yesterday’s issue featured a look at book clubs for kids as a way to foster reading and to also build a library. Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN, offers another take on kids book clubs: the Red Balloon Birthday Club.

To participate, parents enroll their children in the club with basic name, birthday, and address information. Then each year until they are 18 years old, members receive a card in the mail wishing them Happy Birthday that doubles as a coupon. The coupon is good for anything Red Balloon sells, but they recommend a book.

“We send out the postcards just before the beginning of the month,” Red Balloon manager, Joan Trygg, told me. “The coupon earns the customer $3 off and is good for through the month of the birthday.”

If this is something you’d like to emulate in your bookstore, here’s how Red Balloon Bookshop does it.

  • Participants sign up by submitting name, month/year of birth, address to where the card should be sent.
  • Red Balloon sends a confirmation email of enrollment.
  • Since the participants enroll with only the month and year, birthday card/coupons are mailed just once a month. The Red Balloon Birthday Club coupon is good only for the birthday month, so they mail the postcard to arrive before the month begins.
  • Red Balloon has a standard postcard that they use every month, so they only have to print and affix labels, add postage, and mark an expiration date. The monthly process takes about an hour.
  • Red Balloon Bookshop promotes the program through their website, with in-store signage, and through customer interaction.

A Birthday Book Club provides a nice spin on the tradition book club for kids. For a child, an annual trip to the bookstore to celebrate only “me” is a pretty nice present, indeed.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay