Before Michelle and John Cavalier opened Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA, they both worked at a bookstore in Baton Rouge that dedicated a large portion of floor space to a required reading section.
“We saw there that required reading was a very reliable stream of revenue and that it was a huge part of creating a reputation of reliability and community participation,” says John. “We wanted to cultivate the same reputation when we opened Cavalier House Books.”
Earlier this week they sent out two emails. The first was sent to teachers, specifically requesting required reading information. And the second went to their general mailing list, promoting the fact that they stock required reading books.
The email to teachers asked for specific information. It read:
We’ll need the following information so that we can have your assigned books available when your students need them:
- List of required titles (including required editions if applicable)
- Number of students in class
- Due date for students to have the books
Also included in the emails was a link to an online form where parents or students could submit the following information:
- School Name
- Teacher Name
- Grade Level
- Due Date
- Book List
“Some use the form but more just respond to the email or a few even just call,” John says. “The form is definitely useful as an info gathering tool but its even more useful as a catalyst or a reminder to just give us a heads up in general.”
To obtain the lists in advance, the staff will reach out to teachers, parents, students, and the schools’ websites.
“I try to work with our librarians to get them to wrangle some info for us, I contact some teachers directly that I know just need some extra encouragement but the most reliable method of getting the lists is the parent or student that is just on the ball. Every class always has the kid (or parent) that goes and buys their required reading the second they get the list- we always ask to make a copy and fortunately for us they usually show up a few days before everyone else which is just enough time get anything we’re missing from B&T or Ingram.”
Cavalier House Books shelves the required reading texts in their typical sections, and in some cases they’ll make displays. John says that if their inundated with students buying the texts, they’ll sell them directly from the boxes.
“Last year during back-to-school I think we could have just sat outside with a few cases each of Fahrenheit 451 & Freedom Writer’s Diary and we would have done just fine!”