With the recent arrivals of the ABC Best Books for Children catalog and the New Voices fliers, indie booksellers have two robust tools to help guide holiday shoppers toward a selection of outstanding books for children and teens. Aside from stuffing catalogs and fliers in customers’ bags and placing them near registers, ABC Group members are distributing and featuring these selling tools in varied and successful ways.
One of the primary ways that ABC Group booksellers promote and sell New Voices selections is via in-store displays. At Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in La Verne, California, Andrea Vuleta has set up a New Voices display on an end cap that features library-bound books of local students’ writing on the bottom shelf. The student works are compiled from a Young Writer’s Contest that Mrs. Nelson’s runs every spring, and the pairing of emerging adult and student authors has been very successful in drawing customer interest, said Vuleta. The store also features the New Voices picks on a dedicated web page and mentions the program and its merits during its bimonthly teacher book talks.
Other booksellers, including Joanne Bibeau of Storybook Cove in Hanover, Massachusetts, also display the New Voices flier in-store along with all of the books and feature it on their website’s main page.
The New Voices flier is a powerful holiday shopping list for parents of young adult readers who are looking to explore new authors. Judy Bulow of Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store has found that the “list is great for those shopping for the older kids,” who usually need guidance.
To maximize exposure of the New Voices flier, some booksellers pair it with the ABC Best Books for Children catalog. Several tuck the flier inside the catalog cover and others set it prominently alongside any “Best Books” displays.
This year, Storybook Cove’s Bibeau tried something new with the ABC Best Books Catalog. She had the catalog imprinted with a discount coupon as well as store information and had it inserted in two local, weekly newspapers. “The newspapers always feature the schools, their lunch menus, etc., so I’m hoping for the parent business,” Bibeau said.
Distributing the catalog to teachers and at community hotspots also plays a key role in booksellers’ marketing efforts. Ellen Richmond of Children’s Book Cellar in Waterville, Maine, recommends placing catalogs in amenable “laundromats, coffee shops, hospital waiting rooms, doctor and dentist offices,” as well as local libraries.
Allison Best-Teague of Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, North Carolina, gives small stacks of catalogs to teachers who come into the store and instructs them to pass the catalogs along to other teachers and remind them about the store’s educator discount policies.
Best-Teague also takes the catalog along when she’s asked to speak at parent nights, and Carol Moyer of Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh widens catalog distribution during kids’ events. “We put a catalog in each chair,” she said.
Maureen Palacios of Once Upon a Time in Montrose, California, had a unique way of distributing the ABC Best Books catalog this October. To drive business back to her store, she gave away the catalog on Halloween night.
“We have 10,000 kids treat-or-trick through our outside shopping park,” Palacios said, so she included coupons that encouraged trick-or-treaters to come back to the store and to visit its website. “Parents really like the catalog, and we have been getting many customers in with the coupon already,” she said.
Mrs. Nelson’s Vuleta finds the catalog helpful in guiding the purchases of customers from a different generation. She hosts a Senior Shopping Day and buses in seniors from several local retirement communities who want to get a head start on their holiday shopping. Vuleta provides seniors with the catalog and relies on it to guide recommendations.
Booksellers with questions about the catalog and New Voices flier and those who would like to order additional copies should contact ABC Group Manager Shannon O’Connor via e-mail or at (800) 637-0037, ext. 6651.