Publishers as Event Partners

Josie Leavitt -- June 10th, 2016

All bookstores strive to host fun, engaging events that will draw a large crowd. We all know that these events are a lot of work, can be expensive to pull off, and require a lot of advertising. So it was a thrill to find out that Scholastic had chosen our store as a stop on its Summer Reading Road Trip. This genius promotion is a bevy of fun events all in one, with not one, but three local authors. The more I read about the help Scholastic is providing, the more excited about this event I become.

The idea of a Summer Reading Road Trip is fairly simple: get kids engaged in reading during the summer by making reading fun. An RV pulls up to the bookstore – for us, it’s July 10th – and for two hours kids can learn a craft, do reading-related activities, meet two costume characters, get books signed, and generally just have a grand old time. The best part about this is that Scholastic is providing everything but the kids and their families. And they are supporting local authors at every stop with signing stations, and have even provided us with a list of all backlist and frequent emails about what crafts are doing the best, so we know what other books to stock.

The publisher clearly wants this to be a great event. They are making it fun and so easy. Not only are they providing their own staff to run the activities, they are also using their own people to wear the character costumes. For the record, finding a staffer or volunteer to wear a costume is not easy and the shipping alone on one costume is more than $150, so we are saving a lot of money.

Sometimes the hardest part of an event is promoting it in new ways that will entice to put the store event on the family calendar. If an event makes it on a family calendar, folks are much more likely to attend. Scholastic has worked hard to give stores everything they could possibly need to promote the Summer Reading Road Trip. There is a fabulous website for the event with links to individual stores. A host package was emailed to all stores and it is a treasure trove of yumminess. All book covers, author photos, social media ready art, customizable event posters, and more are contained in the event kit. The beauty of this is stores don’t have to spend staff creating these things. We can just roll them out and start promoting the event. Scholastic is really thinking about what stores might need and providing it. This feels like we really have an ally through the event prep. Small stores sometimes cannot spare staff time to create these colorful flyers and by their making it all so easy, we can devote staff time to getting the word out about the event, rather than creating all of the content ourselves.

I love the idea for this event and will post an update after it takes place. My gut tells me this will be a riotously fun event that will sell a lot of books and have customers talking about it the whole summer.

One thought on “Publishers as Event Partners

  1. Leslie Hawkins

    This sounds fantastic! I feel the need to give a shout-out here to the team at Macmillan who put together the Book Scavenger Hunt events earlier this year. They took the event kit idea to the next level (next two or three levels), and made it so easy and fun to plan and promote these events, and did a great job of promoting the events from their end. They also reimbursed bookstores for gift certificate give-aways, provided signed copies of Jennifer’s (wonderful) book to give away, and even provided the stickers to put on the game pieces. They did everything but come here and hide the clues for us. 😉 But seriously, it was wonderfully planned and executed, and I hope other publishers will look at it as an example.

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