Spotlighting Staff Favorites… and Staff

Yesterday @vromansupstairs, the kids and YA department at Vroman’s in Pasadena, CA, tweeted this display featuring staff picks of one specific bookseller, #BooksellerLeticia. I love the way they highlight the collection of favorites in this colorful end cap. I also like the way they promise more picks and encourage followers to check back weekly.

It’s always fun to stumble across recommendation cards while browsing shelves and displays. But this is a great way for customers to see if a specific bookseller’s reading tastes align with their own.

It’s also a great way to introduce booksellers, new or veterans, through social media. You might be a bookseller who’s been around a while, but your social media follower might be new.

Display Contests Are Back!

When I launched Books & Whatnot in January 2014, I also launched a monthly display contest. I discontinued it toward the end of that year, but I’m pleased to announce that it’s back for 2018!

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Each month, images of displays are judged and one of the photos submitted during that month is declared the winner.
  • The bookstore with the best display will receive a $100 Visa or Mastercard card.
  • Submit as many entries as you’d like, but each display can only be submitted one time. (If you submit a display in January, you cannot resubmit it in February.)
  • Each display is judged as a whole, but you may send as many supporting or close-up images as you’d like.
  • If you’re participating in a publisher-sponsored display contest, you should probably wait until that contest has ended before you submit the entry here.

The idea is for bookstores to share and borrow ideas. 

To submit a display photo, just take a picture with your smart phone and text it to me at 316-208-3438. Be sure to include your name and the name/location of the bookstore. If you’d rather, attach the display photo to an email.

You have until January 31, 2018, to send in your entries. The winner will be announced on February 1.

It’s been a while, but we still have the display gallery of past displays from other bookstores for your perusing pleasure. Enjoy, and good luck!

Valentine’s Display (sort of)

Valentine’s Display (sort of)

Valentine’s Day isn’t all roses and chocolates for a lot of people. Which is probably why I love this display from The Book Table in Oak Park, IL.

Named “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: Tales of Love Gone Awry,” the display features titles that… well, don’t expect to see them on the Chick Lit reading list. Here’s a sample of titles:

  • 13 of the Worst Breakups in History
  • The End of Alice
  • We Were Liars
  • Gone Girl
  • Someone Please Have Sex with Me

The display was a group effort, says store manager Javier Ramirez. And many of the staff recommendations are complemented with shelf-talkers, which is helpful… because I kind of want to send them some chocolate.

Let There Be Light(boxes)

cinemasign screenshot-2016-12-07-13-10-38The brightest thing in your front window is probably the sign that says, “Open.” That’s a crucial bit of information you need to show the world, but are there other messages you could get in front of the casual viewer. How about “Books Hot Off the Press” or “Readers Welcome”?

Cinema-style signs are available at home decor stores and online (see here and here… and here). Be alert when you shop for light boxes. Some are powered by batteries or a USB connection; others can be plugged into a wall socket. Be sure you chose the option that’s best for you.

There is no shortage of video tutorials on how to make your own lightbox sign. You can make the box in just the size you need or go all the way and make both the box and the letters, too.

Don’t want to keep track of all those letters? Make a permanent sign to announce “Live author 7 pm” or “Free recommendations.” Those will never go out of style.

(Hat tip to John Mesjak for this idea. Thanks, J.)

Multiple Displays Mean More Impressions

Multiple Displays Mean More Impressions

2016-04-12 10.38.52I attended the recent MIBA Pop-Up Marketing Spring Meeting. It was hosted by Bluebird Bookstore in Hutchinson, Kansas, which is a quick 45 minute drive for me.

When I arrived at the store, I was greeted just inside the front door with a lovely “April is National Poetry Month” display.

I mentioned the 45 minute drive, but I didn’t mention the bottle of water consumed along the way. Thus, my second stop in the store was the restroom, where I was greeted with this “April is National Poetry Month” display on the paper towel dispenser.

At the cafe counter few minutes later, I observed this “April is National Poetry Month” display.

2016-04-12 10.50.13

And then at the register, I see another one.

It turns out that Melanie Green, Bluebird’s owner, had poetry themed displays tucked all around the store, which is so smart, because the more impressions you can get in front of your customers, the more likely your message will be consciously received. And if your customers are especially observant, the multiple placements can become a scavenger hunt, of sorts.

The next time you create a display for your store, think about different places you can extend the theme. Windows, doors, restrooms, tables… they all are great options for display locations. How would they look tied together?