A Roundup of Results From BTW’s One-Second Survey

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Over the last several months, hundreds of readers have responded to Bookselling This Week’s one-second survey. Here’s a snapshot of the results, from how many hours booksellers work to when they do annual inventories, from how they manage the work/life balance to how they offer store credit, from who their literary best friend would be to how often they vacuum, and so much more.

Of the options given each week, here’s what responding booksellers said:

  • 66% shelve big laydowns the morning the book publishes; 23% do it the night before (my kind of people!)
  • 47% of bookstores throw a staff party at the holidays; 32% don’t; 21% do it at another time of year
  • 75% of stores said they’re open every day; 19% said six days a week; 6% said fewer than six days a week
  • 30% of stores keep to banker’s hours, while 57% have late hours and 13% do late hours only on weekends
  • Stores that do annual inventories tend to do them after the holidays (82%); 12% do them in the spring and 6% in the fall
  • 62% of bookstore owners and managers reported working 36 to 55 hours per week, 27% reported 56 or more hours, and 11% said 35 or fewer hours
  • 33% of booksellers don’t ticket their events, 8% do, and 59% do sometimes (like when David Sedaris rolls into town, am I right?)
  • 21% of booksellers invite authors to visit their store via Skype or video chat; 37% don’t; and 42% don’t but would consider it
  • Booksellers reported using mental health days (23%), scheduled vacations (43%), and limits on checking work e-mail after hours (34%) as ways to maintain a healthy work/life balance (you’re doing a great job!!)
  • 62% of booksellers reported reading more than 50 books a year; 29% reported reading fewer than 50 books a year; and 9% said they can’t keep track (we can sympathize)
  • 85% of stores offer gift wrapping outside of the winter holidays
  • For store credit, 53% of booksellers use a paper voucher while 29% use a plastic card and 18% do it digitally
  • 68% of booksellers report that they reuse packing material, while 28% recycle it and 4% throw it out
  • 11% of stores frequently use Google Analytics to track their website traffic; 45% never use it; and 44% sometimes use it
  • 76% of stores keep non-book items on their cash wrap; 20% keep more books, and 4% keep nothing but the register
  • Booksellers reported that their favorite literary crush is Mr. Darcy, coming in at 47%, followed by Lisbeth Salander at 28% and Jon Snow at 25%
  • 15% of stores hold staff development days (we’d love to hear about this!)
  • 93% of stores held events and promotions in celebration of National Small Business Week in May
  • 46% of stores reported vacuuming once a day; 35% once a week; and 19% less than once a week (we need to talk…)
  • Booksellers voted for Westerns to come back among literary fads (47%) followed by steampunk (33%) and vampires (20%)
  • 56% of booksellers would call Elizabeth Bennet their literary best friend over Ron Weasley (26%) and Katniss Everdeen (18%)
  • Booksellers ranked their favorite parts of BookExpo as: Meeting ABA colleagues from bookstores around the U.S. (48%); book signings with authors in the ABA Lounge (30%); and exploring the trade show floor (22%)

Check Bookselling This Week each Wednesday for a new one-second survey and catch the results in the following week’s issue. If you don’t want to miss out, subscribe to Bookselling This Week now.