Case Study: Series Promotion at Books & Company

In Julie Bosman’s article “Impatience Has Its Reward: Books Are Rolled Out Faster” (New York Times, February 10, 2014), she explores how “the book business is upending its traditional timetable by encouraging a kind of binge reading, releasing new works by a single author at an accelerated pace.”

How can booksellers help customers keep up on series? Here’s one idea that Lisa Baudoin, managing partner of Books & Company in Oconomowoc, WI, developed with the help of her Random House rep, Jason Gobble. It’s called First Month/First in a Mystery Series.

The staff at Books & Company created a display featuring 30 titles that were “first books” in a mystery series, and they inserted “library cards” in each book. When a customer bought the first book in the series, the staff filled out a different “library card” with the customer’s name and the title of the second book in the series. The customer could bring the card back to Books & Company by a certain date to use it as a coupon for 20% off the second book in the series.

“It gave us a chance to bring forward some older series and to clean up our database by numbering the titles in a series,” says Baudoin. “We just had to make sure we had the first two books in series that had new titles coming out in the near future.”

The series title stems from the January launch date of the promotion, but you could easily adapt it to fit your timeframe and call it something like First Things First. The key is to identify those binge readers and become an enabler.

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