How many bookstores went all-out for Black Friday? Did any book publishers have any crazy deals on their websites for Thanksgiving Day’s kickoff to a season of good cheer and heavy shopping?
It seems like book publishing doesn’t really participate in the mad shopping rush of Black Friday the way most of the industries and retailers do. No one is waiting on line for two hours or pushing back crowds to buy a book on the Friday after turkey time, are they?
But why not?
The book world needs to be like Apple, Walmart, Target, Gap and every other big outfit and create some interest in their products. Discounts galore. Special deals. The hot new book. Where’s a touch of Madison Avenue when it comes to the book publishing industry?
Sure, there are some deals out there – discounts on gift cards, a little extra off on popular titles, maybe even a 2-for-1 sale on some books. But I don’t feel like the book world made a concerted effort to push books, front and center, to lure consumers away from shiny divices and breaks on shoes, bags, and perfumes.
What would get people excited about big books for the holidays?
What if bookstores sold TV’s or some eye candy product, just for Black Friday? They could partner with Samsung or some company and use the big discounts as a draw for people to come to the bookstore.
Or how about bookstores discount accessories – from book-themed shirts, mugs, bags, magnets, and hats to things like bookcases, globes, small statues, posters, art, etc.?
Maybe book publishers should issue a major launch on Black Friday, like a new Harry Potter book or some must-have book.
Bookstores can’t simply yield Black Friday to Amazon, Best Buy, and Macy’s.
I had never participated in Black Friday – until this past one. That’s right, I’m 52, and never thought to get up early, at the crack of dawn, wait on line, contend with the mobs, and look to come away with some steal. But this time, my 14-year-old son asked me to help lasso a discounted; iPhone 11 – and I said yes.
The scheduled 7:00 am opening at a Target had about 190 people lined up outside the doors when they opened seconds before seven in the morning. I was in the middle of that throng.
We navigated the store to end up being third in line for Apple products and first for a phone. I didn’t witness any shoving, screaming or fighting. The Hunger Games mentality is what I envisioned would take over. Surprisingly, it was like any other weekend, just busier.
Long story short, we did not come away with the phone that day but were able to secure it the next day at the same discounted price. He was a happy camper. He put some money toward our holiday plus birthday present and was able to upgrade from a 7 to an 11 after three years. I still have a 6 and I don’t mind.
He is Generation Z, which is tech-centric, and he is addicted to the newest air buds, phone, iPad, drone, etc. It’s his sport, his books, his love. But the book industry can’t give up. It must compete with that and find a way to excite consumers about books on the very day everyone is all in on spending money. Otherwise, bookstores will be distant thoughts when people think about gifts – for others and themselves.
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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 email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. 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.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.
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