ABA Releases Three-Month Gift Card Figures

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With the Book Sense Gift Card program in full swing for four months now, ABA has compiled electronic gift card sales figures for the first three months of the program. The numbers indicate that gift card sales were particularly strong during the holiday season, and a number of booksellers reported significant sales increases over last year's sales of paper gift certificates.

The total number of gift cards sold from October 1, 2003, to December 30, 2003, was approximately 25,000. The total dollar amount was $640,000, with an average per card of $25.50. The month of December was particularly active for the 100-plus bookstores that participated in the gift card program -- over 22,000 cards were sold.

Many booksellers realized a large jump in gift card sales over last year's paper gift certificate sales. DeDe Teeters of Armchair Books in Port Orchard, Washington, saw a whopping 77 percent increase. Teeters told BTW, "I'm really pleased. I've gone and ordered a second batch because we've had such a great response."

In Tampa, Inkwood Books had a 30.8 percent jump in sales of plastic over paper. VP Carla Jimenez told BTW, "Using the cards is so natural, and it's much easier than anyone thought. It's seamless. Customers adjusted automatically, and now it's what they expect and want. It's no hassle and a no-brainer." Jimenez said Inkwood keeps a couple of example gift cards at the cashwrap. One gift card is addressed "To Franny From Zooey." Another is "To Eloise From Abelard."

Other bookstores contacted by ABA saw a 12 to 40 percent range of increase in gift card sales from last year. Katy Budget Books in Houston and Sage Book Store in Shelton, Washington, experienced a 42.6 and a 40.7 percent increase over last year's paper gift certificate sales, respectively. Sage Book Store's manager Gigi Olson summed it all up, "Customers like 'em better."

To sign up for the program click here.

For comprehensive information on the Book Sense Gift Card Program, go to www.bookweb.org/read/6303.

Any questions? Contact ABA Marketing Director Jill Perlstein at [email protected] or (800) 637-0037, ext. 1283.