Tuesday, March 6, 2018

You Want A Book With Your Pasta? How Non-Bookstores Can Grow Book Sales!

I came across a restaurant, Eataly, located near the Freedom Tower in downtown New York City.  It’s a chain store that provides restaurant seating as well as an area for the purchase of packaged foods.  It also features a large offering of books, many of them related to Italy, food, or New York.  It was refreshing to see books sold there and it makes me wonder why more themed restaurants or stores don’t sell books.

Many places sell some books, from convenience stores and airport shops to Costco’s, gift shops, and places like Eataly.  I just wish there were more of them.  Maybe authors and publishers need to push into these markets more.

Why can’t Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts carry a few books?  Between them, there are well over 35,000 locations worldwide.  If each one sold only one book a week, nearly two million books would be snapped up.  But that’s just the beginning.

What if more restaurants, auto repair shops, doctor offices, and places where you have waiting time to fill, sold books? 

Bookstores will always be the prime gathering spot for selling, showcasing, and discussing books, but I see no harm in sharing the wealth and finding other logical outlets to display books.

I recently saw a bank that contained a coffee shop.  Why not a mini-bookstore too?  A store within a store makes sense to me.  Rent is minimalized but foot traffic is maximized.

I know I’m not the first person to think of this – and I know some stores have embraced the idea – but what will need to happen to ensure mass adoption?

The first issue is that many retailers don’t know books. They know the product they sell, whether it’s clothes, food, bicycles, or whatever.  Do they have a feel for which books to sell and at what price point?  Is it worth it to them to sell books if the product they sell goes for hundreds or even thousands of dollars? We should target stores that sell relatively inexpensive items, from coffee houses and movie theaters, to pizza places, bagel shops, and sporting goods stores.

The next issue is the stores need to do a good job of displaying these books, rotating titles, offering a variety of topics and price points, and being open to having an author come to make a presentation (if space permits).

Lastly, authors need to clearly show why they think their books are a good fit for a specific location or brand. They should be prepared to offer deep discounts and expect a lot of returns.  But if this could prove to be profitable to stores and publishers, a whole new avenue to advertise books and sell to consumers could open up. 

There are many. many, many more stores, restaurants, and non-profits than there are bookstores – we’re comparing millions of locations to just a few thousand book retailers.  Do the math.  Let’s exploit this opportunity!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."

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