There is snow on the ground, and honestly, it’s starting to feel a lot like the holidays at the bookstore. This weekend of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving is a great way to kick off the season. Independent bookstores are doing what they can to stand out amid the big box retailers and online sales blitzes.
Most indies know we can’t compete against the huge markdowns of Black Friday, so we’re getting creative about how to drive business to our stores. I think one of the smart things we do, is remind people that personal service is often better than a steep discount. Don’t get me wrong, there are bargains aplenty at most bookstores, they’re just not the screaming sales folks have become accustomed to at larger stores. Many stores are having specials sales Friday, although we don’t really try to compete with what’s happening at the mall.
Saturday is our day. American Express’s promotion: Small Business Saturday is a huge day for us. Having the branding and marketing power of Amex behind the day helps make Saturday a great way to start the season. Their push on social media is hard to miss and that helps to just remind folks, even if they don’t have an American Express card, that shopping locally at a small business is a great idea.
And, Williard Williams of the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, NH, has created a brilliant plan to counteract Cyber Monday. His idea is quite simple: Cider Monday, inviting customers to come in to a real store, talk to a real person, and have some cider and a cookie. Again, the push is to remind folks that you actually do get more real value for your dollar at an independent store.
I hope all of our readers have a happy and safe weekend!