The Power of the Radio

Josie Leavitt -- December 4th, 2015

Our local Public Radio station, VPR, does a holiday book show every year. This year, Liza Bernard of the Norwich Bookstore and I were the guests. This holiday round-up happens on the show Vermont Edition which is hosted by Jane Lindholm. The show airs live at noon and then repeats at 7 pm. We sit and talk about our favorite books for the season for kids and adults and listeners call in with their picks as well. I love being invited on this show for several reasons. Chief among them is the almost immediate increase in sales of books discussed on the show. I have never seen such a rapid turnaround in hearing about a book and ordering a book. The phone was ringing off the hook as soon as the show was over. Then people came by after the show ended. Some even remarked as I rang them up, “Didn’t I just hear you on the radio?” I said yes and a few customers looked quizzical. I gently explained that the studio wasn’t far and I drove back to work. We received several online orders that were titles mentioned on the show. Yesterday morning the first thing I saw in our email was a 15-book order that only had titles from the show.

There is something about customers hearing a store owner on their favorite radio station that makes them come into the store. Perhaps they’re listening to me in a new way (I’ve been told I have a good radio voice) that validates my choices of books. And the host, Jane, really loves to talk about books, so the discussions can get fairly lively. The link to the show is here; the book list is included in that as well.

The other reason I love doing this show is to hear what Vermonters are passionate about reading. This is always informative for me as there are some genres (poetry comes to mind) that I just delve into. I write the list down as listeners call in and we discuss other books on the air. This way I get back to the store and can start ordering. Also, in the half-hour drive back to the store from the studio, invariably, people will have called asking if we carry certain titles, so we have a good sense of what the hot books might be.

So, listen to your public radio station throughout the season, because there’s a very good chance they’ll be talking about gift ideas that you just have to have.

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