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 libro.fm 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.

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.

300 Seconds: Website Check

When it comes to these 300-second tasks, I often focus on the store website because it is often the public face of your store, especially after business hours. If you have an eCommerce site, it’s more than a glorified YellowPages ad. In a way, you’re always open. 

Take 5 minutes today and check the content of your site. Click on menu items to make sure the links are working. Do any of the landing pages read “coming soon” or reflect maintenance? Use your 300 seconds to make a list of those pages, and then use open moments during the day to develop a plan of attack.

Also, take a moment to see how your site looks on a phone or tablet. One of my favorite stores has the search option in the right column. It looks good on my laptop, but when I want to search for an item from my phone, I have to scroll past a quite a bit of content just to get to the search box. It’s not a deal-breaker, but sometimes I do wish it were positioned closer to the top.

Remember that you can enlist your staff to help with something like this, too. Ask them to look at the site from a computer and from a phone and try to order a book, taking notes along the way. Try not to take the suggestions as criticism. Just remember that the end goal is a great customer experience.