Libby Manthey of Riverwalk Books in Chelan, Washington, and Nancy Olson of Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, North Carolina, have partnered with local media to sponsor and appear on book-related shows on area radio and TV stations, respectively. The shows have raised both their store profiles and sales without draining marketing budgets.
Quail Ridge Books & Music was invited by UNC-TV, North Carolina's public TV network, to sponsor NC Bookwatch and "happily has done so for several years," said Nancy Olson. "It's a great advertising bargain." For the cost of $1,300 a year, Quail Ridge is mentioned at the beginning and end of every twice-weekly broadcast and is credited on the series website. The bookstore also suggests guest authors.
Quail Ridge will sponsor NC Bookwatch as long as the program lasts. "We feel the viewers of public television are our best customers," explained Olson. "We don't have to do anything once we design our 'ad' for the year." In the current version, the store name, logo, and web address appear on screen, and a voiceover tells viewers that the show is made possible by "Quail Ridge Books & Music -- Raleigh's independent, full-service bookstore, bringing writers and readers together since 1984."
Olson was also recently asked to appear regularly on My Carolina Today, a daily TV magazine show on an NBC affiliate. "I recommend a book for viewers to read, then present the author, who is interviewed jointly by the hostess and me," Olson said. "We plan to do this once a month -- it takes about one hour total (in the studio), and is on the NBC-affiliated station here in Raleigh." Each segment runs just three minutes, so Olson prepares beforehand to pack in as much information as she can. She arranges the logistics with authors, and the bookstore is mentioned at the beginning and end of the segment.
In the past, Quail Ridge worked with a community TV show that went off the air after about two years. "It took a lot of time, and didn't have the viewership that these other shows have." Working with network TV is worth the effort, Olson said. "I highly recommend bookstores affiliating with major media in the area. People watch TV!"
Libby Manthey of Riverwalk Books is a twice-monthly guest on "Another Story," a radio segment on KOZI FM, where she talks books with radio host and former mayor Jay Witherbee. "I bring three to four recommendations that I discuss with Jay," explained Manthey. "My segment is within a long running morning show called 'A Second Cup of Coffee,' where the community calls in to 'buy, sell, rant, or rave.' It is a community message board -- if you need snow tires, want to sell an appliance, you're running for office, advertising an upcoming event. Most everyone in this small town tunes in."
"Another Story" started last fall, but Manthey had wanted to do something like it for years. She considered recording a radio spot, but decided on the talk format. "Jay seems to enjoy this format and has read several of the featured books. He enjoys talking about them. We also talk about industry happenings -- e-books, bestseller lists, independent bookselling. I will be calling from BookExpo America on Tuesday [May 25] to talk about all things BEA."
The $70 monthly cost of sponsoring "Another Story" covers promo spots, two 20-minute radio segments, a website listing, and a podcast. Manthey claims co-op for the shows.
"Another Story" has been good for business, said Manthey. "I have had more locals coming into the store since I started the radio show. Many people are spending time browsing. We have made shelf-talkers indicating the books that are featured on the show. We are fine-tuning the in-store promo of the show, electronic promo, and website promo. We are still working on the podcasts being available on our website and not just KOZI's."
Another bonus is that KOZI is an indie radio station. "We are small town, and KOZI is small town social media," said Manthey.
Creating and participating in a regularly aired radio show requires some commitment. "At first doing the show was just one more thing I didn't have time for and still is difficult to work in," said Manthey. "But the reward has been great. Not only has it placed 'the book' in the community conversation but ideas and content as well." --Karen Schechner
To listen to "Another Story," go to KOZI "On Demand," and scroll down to find Riverwalk Books.