Thursday, September 8, 2016

Want Your Bookstores Back? 1 Easy Solution

This last weekend, I returned to one of my favorite places in the world. No, as much as I wish it was Disneyland or the Disney Cruise Line, I went somewhere else - Barnes and Noble.

In our area, there are now just three Barnes and Noble around us. Yes, I know that sounds like a lot to many of you who have not seen a real bookstore in some time, but two of these are no less than 40 minutes away (or I drive to Seattle, fight the traffic and parking and get to that one). Not fun.

If you are like me, you loved walking around a bookstore. Browsing new titles, feeling book covers, having a cup of coffee and just sitting in one of those comfy chairs skimming a potential book you say you won't buy, but know you will eventually.

But so many bookstores disappeared when people simply had to make a decision of buying a book or buying a gallon of milk. Add in the fact that so many of these bookstores over-extended themselves with trying to do too many things, and we lost those wonderful sanctuaries.

There is a solution though.

Buy more books.

I know that sounds strange but buy the real books. There are two parts to this so let me start with the easier one.

When you buy the real book (not used so sorry briefly to the used bookstore people out there), the money goes back to the publishers and the authors. They see sales and this is good. More sales means they can do more! Remember, right now, they are making decisions based on sales numbers. Although sharing books, using the library, or even heading to the used bookstore is a great money saver, it is not making any money for those people who supply the bookstores. We have to encourage that.

Now, here comes the big one (and this is good for you used bookstore people). Go to those smaller booksellers (and this includes the Walmarts, grocery stores and so forth) and find that person stocking the shelves. Give them lists of names you want at the bookstore. Tell your friends you want those books. Tell everyone. Flood that person with titles that are simply not there. And don't just do this at one store! Hit all of the stores in your neighborhood. Used bookstore people can help to buy continually getting those books for them.

We know the success of having your friends promote your books for you. Here is just another way to help.

Secondly, get all of your followers to start a campaign. Get them to write to the publishers (which you carefully provide but make sure it is not your editor but the general marketing office) and have them tell these people they can't find your book. Again, the key here is to flood the market. Have everyone do it!

Finally, and I know this one will be hardest, but push for those books from places other than the online retailers. Sure, it is easy and convenient to just order it online, or have it sent to your phone, but all you are doing is proving to the publishers and book buyers that there is no need for those bookstores again. Remember, these people work with numbers. If they see online retail shopping of books levels but there is a spike in people wanting books at bookstores, they will notice.

But, to make this work, it will take time and it will take a flash mob mentality. You have to get everyone on board to buy those books!

I don't know about you, but I loved heading into that bookstore this last weekend. Wouldn't it be nice to see that new construction in your neighborhood is not a new Fast Food Restaurant but a bookstore?

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