Postage Rates to Increase

Last year, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved a proposal by the United States Postal Service to increase rates. On Sunday, January 21, 2018, be prepared for these changes:

  • First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) rates will increase from $0.49 to $0.50. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
  • The discounted “Metered Mail” category for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will increase from $0.46 to $0.47. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
  • First Class Mail Flats (1 oz.) will increase from $0.98 to $1.00. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
  • Postcard rates will increase one cent to $0.35.
  • Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First Class Package Service, and Media Mail will all see an average rate increase of 3.9%. Media Mail rates will start at $2.66 (previously $2.63) and Library Mail will start at $2.53 (previously $2.50).

If you need to make any changes to the shipping component of your eCommerce site, you should plan on performing an update on Saturday evening, January 20. And if you’re a Forever® Stamp kind of epistolarian, you have about a week to stock up.

Nominations for IndieNext Spring 2018 Kids’ List Due

Don’t forget that nominations for the IndieNext Spring 2018 Kids’ List are due today. According to the ABA website, titles nominated for the Spring Kids’ List should be published between February 1 and April 30.

Booksellers at ABA member stores can nominate one of three ways:

  • Use this form to submit up to six nominations for the IndieNext List.
  • Email nominations to
  • Booksellers can also submit through Edelweiss or NetGalley.

Detailed instructions can be found here.


2018 Binc Foundation Scholarship Program

The Binc Foundation announced today that it will be accepting applications from January 14, 2018 until March 5, 2018 for the 2018 Binc Foundation Scholarship Program. The program will offer up to 27 higher education awards totaling $109,000 to eligible current bookstore employees/owners and their dependents as well as eligible former Borders Group employees and their dependents. As part of the scholarship program, awards may be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and room and board.

Awards will be given as follows:

  • Twenty-Four awards of $3,500 each.
  • Two awards of $10,000 each to the top two candidates overall. At least one (1) of the $10,000 awards will be granted to an Industry affiliated applicant.
  • One Karl Pohrt Tribute Award of $5,000 will be awarded to a independent bookseller who has overcome learning adversity or is a non-traditional student.

For more information or to apply, visit the Binc Foundation website here.

Q&D Results: Complimentary Bookmarks

Last Friday I asked a Quick & Dirty survey question: Do you give away complimentary bookmarks to customers?

97% responded YES

3% responded NO

Here are some of the comments:

  • We do give away complimentary bookmarks–store specific. We also got a box of the free bookmarks from with our store info on them and we give those out as well. 
  • Yes, we have always had complimentary bookmarks. We have our store logo on them and a book or reading related quote by some well known person. They have been quite popular and some people have a collection of them. We have six different quotes each time we print. Most of unique but some favorites have been used more than once over our 10 1/2 years.
  • Bookmarks: yes, with new ones monthly that list our events and any programs we want to promote that month. They’re just printed on colored paper or cardstock, depending on how fancy we feel.
  • Yes we do give out bookmarks with purchase.
  • I give a bookmark with each purchase. Usually I use the ABA ready-made designs and send them to a printer, with my hours & store info printed on the back. Right now I have basically a lifetime supply from Hummingbird Ebooks.
  • I do give away bookmarks.  I print them up myself – designed in Publisher – on cardstock. They’ve got my logo and all my contact info, including social media.
  • Yes, and on the reverse we have favorite quotes and change them up periodically. Many customers like to have a complete set.
  • Yes, we give away free bookmarks with our store hours.

And here’s a gallery of some of the bookmarks you submitted…


Cameras at the ready…

A few weeks ago, I was asked to produce a video highlighting all of the 2017 events hosted through my public radio station. The development department wanted to include it in an email encouraging year-end donations. It was a great idea except for two small issues: 1) we had no video footage, and 2) the request arrived on December 27.

Fortunately, we did have quite a few still images and I was able to pull together a slideshow video of sorts. 

Since Mark Zuckerberg continues to push video first across his Facebook family of apps, I continue to think that original video content is important for bookstores to attain higher reach to their followers.

This video really doesn’t consist of much more than photos, royalty-free music, and the ability to tap out an 8-count. I created it in Adobe Premiere, but there are many other programs available. My daughter likes iMovie.

I did resize all of my images to 1920 x 1080 pixels, because that’s the 16:9 ratio that I use for video, too. That way if I did want to incorporate both video and stills, I could maintain the same screen size throughout the video.

Once I had the images gathered and sized, I pulled this video together in about a day. So the main message I’d like to convey is this: Get your cameras ready! It was so affirming to see a year’s worth of events in one place. A year-end video is a nice way to remind your customers of everything you do for the community. But the only way you can do so is if you take photos at your events throughout the year, so take 300 seconds and add “take photos” to your events checklist. And when each event is over, you can process them in Facebook albums or save them in a file for easy collection at the end of the year.

And this is when I turn a corner with my thinking. It took me a day to gather the images, a day to resize them, and a day to produce the video. While I can’t produce a video for everyone, I think I could produce three next December. So, if you would like to enter you bookstore in a video-production giveaway, highlighting your store’s activities and accomplishments for 2018, complete this form. I’ll do a random drawing for three winners on February 1.

Keep in mind, if your store is selected you’ll have to do your end of the bargain: Take photos! Take pics of your staff. Take pics of authors. Take pics of your customers. They really like to see themselves included in social media like this. Remember to follow the photo release guidelines you have set up for your store, especially if kids are involved. And if you win, I’ll set up a Dropbox folder for your store so we can collect the images throughout the year.

Get those cameras ready! And good luck.