Fall has arrived, and holiday shoppers will soon follow. To help make booksellers' key selling season just a little easier, Book Sense is providing a handy checklist of deadlines, supply and stock resources, and easy-to-implement marketing suggestions.
Check stock ... and then check again
Save time and money, and avoid frustration, by checking your stock now for titles and non-book products that you'll need for this holiday season. Order early to avoid last-minute rush charges or worse -- the chance of not getting what you need.
Mark your calendar
- Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 23
- Hanukkah (first night) is Friday, December 15
- Christmas Eve is Sunday, December 24
- Kwanzaa is Tuesday, December 26
Check business supplies and order now
- The Booksellers Resource Directory is a listing of suppliers of non-book products, office supplies, business services, and more.
- Atlas Paper Company, offering discounts on merchandise bags, wrapping paper, and ribbons, is the supplier of Book Sense branded paper and plastic bags.
- AAA Label is the source for stickers with promotional messages such as "Local Author" and "Autographed Copy." When placing an order, be sure to mention that you are an ABA member.
- For Book Sense Picks and Bestsellers stickers, go to ABA/Book Sense Merchandise Order Form or call (800) 637-0037, ext. 6635 or 6636. To receive stickers in time for Thanksgiving, orders must be placed by noon EST on Friday, November 10. To receive by December 22, orders must be placed by by noon EST on Friday, December 15.
- Mary Engelbreit's "A Book Is a Present You Can Open Again and Again" paper gift certificates and envelopes can be ordered via the ABA/Book Sense Merchandise Order Form or by calling (800)637-0037, ext. 6635 or 6636. To receive Mary Engelbreit certificates by Thanksgiving, orders must be placed by noon EST on Friday, November 10. For delivery by December 22, orders must be placed by noon EST on Friday, December 15. (Mary Engelbreit "A Book Is a Present You Can Open Again and Again" paper gift certificates are not for use with the Book Sense program.)
Stock up on Book Sense gift cards and presenters
Reorder generic and imprinted cards and presenters from the Book Sense Gift Card program via your Givex account.
- To receive cards and/or presenters in time for Thanksgiving: imprinted cards (logo already on file) must be ordered by noon EST on Monday, November 6; generic cards must be ordered by noon EST on Monday, November 13.
- To receive cards and/or presenters by December 11: imprinted cards (logo already on file) must be ordered by noon EST on Monday, November 20; generic cards must be ordered by noon EST on Monday, November 27.
- Rush orders will be accepted; however, there will be additional charges and booksellers should plan for two to three days delivery time. The deadline for rush orders to be delivered in time for Christmas will be noon EST on Friday, December 15.
Handling Book Sense materials
- Assign a staff member to be on the lookout for the Book Sense Red and White Boxes during the busy months, so the arrival of the latest Book Sense Picks lists, other promotional materials, and last-minute special offers from Book Sense Publisher Partners don't get lost among stock deliveries. Watch for your initial quantity of 2006 Picks Highlights fliers in the November Red Box mailing. These fliers are a great way to remind customers of some of the "Best of the Best" of 2006. They also provide a wide range of titles that are perfect for gift giving. To order additional Book Sense materials, call (800) 637-0037, ext. 6635 or 6636. To receive materials in time for Thanksgiving, orders must be placed by noon EST on Friday, November 10. For delivery by December 22, orders must be placed by noon EST on Friday, December 15.
- Assign a staff member to print out the Book Sense Bestseller lists each Thursday and replace the previous week's lists. Save a space on your walls for the Book Sense Year-End Bestseller List, coming in Bookselling This Week on December 7.
- Display Book Sense category lists in appropriate sections of your store.
General operational reminders
- Talk to staff about potential scheduling conflicts.
- Train and empower staff so that they can handle long lines, returns, exchanges, technology failures, emergencies, etc. Also prominently post your return and exchange policies.
- Check office supplies such as, pens, note pads, tape, scissors, acrylic holders for brochures, register tape, terminal paper, light bulbs, etc.
- Print out the latest Book Sense directories for staff reference: Choose one or more states or print the entire list of approximately 1,200 current stores with Book Sense; choose one or more states or print the entire list of approximately 380 current locations of stores that sell and accept Book Sense Gift Cards. Printable directories are available at BookWeb.org/infohub/.
Exterior of store
- Create signs for windows and/or doors that list your store hours and website address. Promote special holiday hours well in advance.
- Check your after-hours voice mail message. Make sure that it clearly states your store hours and website address, and mention whether the caller can leave a message.
Interior of store
- Update and replace worn shelf-talkers. (ABA's trade website, BookWeb.org, offers two new shelf-talkers and links to other downloadable marketing materials.
- Decorate to create a festive atmosphere that will inspire customers to make holiday purchases. Change as appropriate.
- Pre-wrap "hot" titles, but be sure to place a sticker on the outside with the title, ISBN, and price. Leave an unwrapped book at the top of the pile with a small sign that says, "Wrapped and ready to go!"
- Since Book Sense Gift Cards are not valid until activated by an authorized bookseller, you can place gift cards in locations throughout the store to increase awareness and sales.
- Place complementary non-book items next to titles to increase impulse buys. For example, if your store sells candles, place some in the cookbook or decorating section. If your store sells blank journals, place a few in the travel section. Place small products such as bookmarks or novelty items near the cash register to draw the attention of customers who are waiting to pay.
- Have a great idea that you want to share? Want to gather input from your peers? Post your suggestions or questions on the Bookseller-to-Bookseller Idea Exchange.