300 Seconds

The Art of Making a Book

I enjoy watching artisan videos. And when the subject has to do with books, well… I’m lost.

This video is actually embedded into a Facebook post. I tracked it back to Willy Foo – Photographer, Marketer, Technopreneur from Singapore. I’m not sure if it’s his originally, or if he shared it. Regardless, since it’s already in Facebook, it should be easy to share.

But enjoy it yourself first. (It will take 209 seconds.)

“Best of 2014″ Lists

As we wrap up 2014 and look to 2015, we see a lot of “Best of 2014″ lists. And just because there are a lot of lists going around, that doesn’t mean you can’t create one, too. We see so many lists because they work.

Take 300 Seconds today and ask your staff to compile a list of their favorite reads for 2014. When I’ve put together lists like these in the past, my request would read something like this:

“Please email to me by noon on Friday your top reads for 2014. You can list them numerically 1-10 with your favorite as number 1; you can give me your top 3; you can give me a list of 6 titles with no order of preference. It doesn’t matter. But however you give them to me, that’s how they will be published. ALL CAPS? Fine. all lower case with no punctuation? No problem. “Quotation marks” or italics on your titles. Whatever you wish. I will just copy and paste your list as you send it and will not change a thing. Including typos.”

The reason I like to copy and paste the lists as I receive them is because personalities are allowed to shine through. When you do not apply a universal style guide, you get to see individual styles. And if you, as a customer, like the writing style of Elizabeth Schieber, and you agree with her “best of” list, you’re more inclined to go to her for recommendations.

Check on supply inventory.

Since weekends tend to be more hectic with holiday shopping, take 5 minutes today and check on your supplies. Here are a few items to check:

  • register tape
  • gift wrap tape
  • ribbon
  • wrapping paper
  • gift bags
  • mailers
  • gift certificates/cards
  • merchandise bags
  • bag stuffers

Look around at items you might need that aren’t necessarily related to sales or gift giving, like ice melt, a snow shovel, tissues, restroom necessities (hand soap, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.)

If you take the time to stock up on these items today, tomorrow you’ll be better able to concentrate on finding that perfect gift book.

Returns Policy

Do you remember when we spent some time outlining our store policies? One of the policies in the list was for returns.

What’s your returns policy?

  • Do customers have a limited time to return merchandise?
  • Do you only offer store credit without a receipt?

Take 300 Seconds today and place your returns policy on your receipts. You witness the number of books purchased as gifts. The recipients of those gifts might not be familiar with your store or your policies. Having the printed policy at their fingertips now might eliminate questions and disappointment later.

Oliver Jeffers ABC Letterpress Print

Jeffers fullThis has a 300 Seconds task at the end. I promise. But since I’ve already confessed my love for everything created by Oliver Jeffers, I thought I’d share this tidbit with you. (Perhaps this will be the perfect gift for the bookseller who has [almost] everything.)

Jeffers has created an exclusive new limited edition letterpress print to celebrate the new book Once Upon an Alphabet.

Every print is unique, the eyes on the spaceman of each print is hand finished by Jeffers.

Limited to an edition of 225, each print is numbered, signed by Jeffers and embossed with his exclusive seal. Each print is mailed flat so that it arrives with you in perfect condition, no matter where you are in the world.

Even though this is more of a Friday Whatnot piece, I thought I should share it today… the last day to order if you want it shipped International first-class priority mail. If you live in the United States, you can procrastinate until December 20th. I found this information directly on the page with the print for sale.

Christmas postage deadlines 2014 – Maps, periodic tables, art prints & books dispatched from USA:

  • Dec 2nd International first-class priority mail
  • Dec 10th International express priority mail
  • Dec 20th Domestic first-class or priority mail
  • Dec 23rd Domestic express priority mail

Here’s your 300 Seconds task:

Do you know the last day customers can place an order for a book and have it arrive in the store by Christmas?

Do you know the last day a customer can place an order for a book and have it shipped to them by Christmas?

Once you determine these dates, have the information posted prominently on your website and in the store posted at your information desk. This will provide information of a service you can provide that some customers might not have thought of.