Great Lakes Independent 
Booksellers Association

The Top 10 Things You Must Do Now

Booksellers Ideas For Success (And More) from ABA Spring Forums

1). Review Your Credit Card Bill

"This is simple but effective.  Get a firm, written quote from another credit card processing company and let your current provider try to beat it.  We did this is in late 2011, and we saved about $5000.  The next year we did it again, and it worked again.  This year, we are projecting another $5000 in savings."

Green Apple Books (San Francisco, CA)

"Review your account statements.  Credit and debit card processing statements can be so confusing, so ask plenty of questions.  Make sure your credit card processing company takes the time to explain the statement and walks you through the accounting behind their services charges. Resistance to statement review is a red flag that equates to deceptive pricing strategies."

Rakestraw Books (Danville, CA)

2). Promote Local & Self-Published Authors

Create a Top 10 Local Authors display. Monte Cristo Bookshop (New London, CT)

Host a local author day in your store for local authors to meet each other, and sign copies of their books. Kazoo Books (Kalamazoo, MI)

Invite a local author to be a "book-recommender" for a few hours each week. Battenkill Books (Cambridge, NY)

Ask a staff member to interview a local writer or illustrator to introduce him or her to the community. Blue Marble Books (Fort Thomas, KY)

Your connections in the book industry are worth money.  Share some of that with potential self-published authors for free, but charge for more.Village Books (Bellingham, WA)

3). Promote Localism

Participate in local business promotions like Where's Waldo (Candlewick Press). Vintage Books (Vancover, WA)

Participate in Small Business Saturday.The King's English Bookshop (Salt Lake City, UT)

Take advantage of the "Thanks for Shopping Indie campaign" and the extra discount from the publishers. Dragonfly Books (Decorah, IA)

4). Open the Store to Community Meetings

One customer can bring in 15-20 new customers when that customer's group starts meeting in the store.  Shawnee Books & Toys discovered this when it started hosting a knitting group. Shawnee Books & Toys (Shawnee, KS)

Start a monthly salon that featires local authors, musicians, and artists to capture people who would  come to a cultural event but who may not otherwise come into the bookstore. The Spiral Bookcase (Philadelphia, PA)

Host a weekly chess club. Blue Ridge Books (Waynesville, NC)

Provide window space for other community organizations. Books on the Common (Ridgefield, CT)

5). Reach Out to Kids

Invite various community members-police, fire fighters, lawyers, politicians, etc.- to come in and read to kids while wearing their work attire.  Before they read, they explain how what they do for a living impacts the city and ultimately the child's life. Monte Cristo Bookshop (New London, CT)

Host various children's groups: Author/illustrator Series Storytime, Family Books Groups, Mother/Daughter Book Night with YA  Authors, etc. Watchung Booksellers (Montclair, NJ)

Expand the Children's section to include more faceout books. Inklings Bookshop (Yakima, WA)

Launch a summer reading program...with a focus. Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)

Educate yourself and your staff regarding the Common Core Standards.

6). Partner With Local Media

Invite your local radio station to broadcast music live from the store. Spotty Dog Books & Ale (Hudson, NY)

Provide a weekly book review to local newspapers. Inklings Bookshop (Yakima, WA)

Working with network TV is worth th eeffort.  Research the possibility to affiliate with major media in the area. Quail Ridge Books & Music (Raleigh, NC)

7). Understand Inventory

Rotate displays. Switch items on shelves from top to bottom.  Titles that have languished on the bottom shelf will sell if moved up. Barking Dog Books & Art (Marietta, OH)

Track inventory. Reduce one section if you find it is over inventoried and devote that space to books that are selling.  Magic Tree Bookstore (Oak Park, IL)

Conside Treeline. The inventory information that Treeline provides is priceless. Treeline gives you the tools to know exactly how inventory is performing so that you can keep inventory levels down and turns up--which goes directly to the bottom line.  Maria's Bookshop (Durango, CO)

8). Optimize Your Website

Don't miss easy opportunities to sell books. If you are having an author event, feature the title on your homepage.  Have a local book club? Make a page for the club and ask members to send you book reviews.

Your sites is designed to sell books.  Putt your staff favorites on your homepage.  Ass reviews any time you add to a page so your customers know why you choose it.

Remembers: eBooks!

Upload inventory.If you are an IdieCommerce store, it only takes a simple text file from your POS. Let people know what is available in your store, and boost your in-stock items in Search and Browse.

Remember: Your website and your bricks-and-mortar store should be a seamless operation.

Keep 'em coming back. Update your site regularly.  Customers need fresh content to keep them interested.

9). Communicate with Customers

If your office is behind the counter and you have limited staff, set a timer to go off every 15 minutes and them walk around the store and help customers. Antigone Books (Tucson, AZ)

Send out holiday postcards with a one-time coupon (with an expiration date). Bethany Beach Books (Bethany Beach, DE)

Continue to use social media: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe (Ashville, NC)

Send thank-you notes to customers when they spend over a certain amount. Lake Forest Book Store (Lake Forest, IL)

Offer community ad space in your email blasts. Create a monthly calendar to focus your communication efforts. Don't forget to check your open rates.  Changing Hands Bookstore (Tempe, AZ)

10). 10 Tips to Help You Make it Big in Small Business

Use Technology

Hire Outside Experts as Consultants

Manage Cash Flow




Review Email Only Three Times a Day

Manage the Supply Closet

Manage Your Meetings and Calls

Dress Comfortably



















 Edelweiss videos

The good folks at Above the Treeline have provided us with  two very useful videos  to help booksellers learn more about Edelweiss.
The first is a  video of a basic training session.  The second is a short slideshow teaching stores how to create an order in Edelweiss. We are planning more training at this year's Heartland Fall Forum (with both basic and advances sessions this time), but these videos will help to get you started.

Congratulations to the Great Lakes, Great Reads Winter 2013 Winners!

The River Swimmer

by Jim Harrison

Grove Press

The Aviator's Wife

by Melanie Benjamin

Delacorte / Random House

After Visiting Friends

by Michael Hainey

Scribner/ Simon & Schuster

Hold Fast

by Blue Balliett



by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Atheneum/ Simon & Schuster

The Price of Freedom

by Dennis & Judith Fradin

Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Walker Children's Books


Contact your  U. S. Representative

Please consider contacting your U. S. Congressperson to urge passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R.684).  ABA has provided a template of a letter and links to find your Representative.  We need every supportletter we can get.


Banned Book Session at Winter Institute

ABFFE has provided links to the wonderful education session with Laurie Halse Anderson and Sherman Alexie at Winter Institute this year. This was a terrific event that you can now view in the comfort of your own home/office/bookstore.

Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association
2113 Roosevelt, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
 (734) 340-6397

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