#11 Effective marketing small independent publishers

NEIBA Question of the Week #11

The NEIBA Board members are starting a Question of the Week on the NEIBA Group at Yahoo! Groups (our Listserv). The goal is to share everyone’s common knowledge about bookselling or anything related to independent bookstores.  It is our hope that after the Board has run through with their questions other members will continue the asking.

This week’s question is:

“What do you feel are the most effective marketing pieces you get from small independent publishers? What would make you most inclined to stock one of their titles?
-Willard Williams, Toadstool Bookshop

Rondi Brower, Blackwood & Brouwer Booksellers Ltd

Easy. The catalog, and a sales rep – phone, commission, in-house.
If I have an appointment, then I look at the catalog (even if it is on Edelweiss or somewhere else on-line). Then I can find the local interest title, the regionally known author, the perfect thing for a good customer. If I don’t have an appointment, I probably don’t get to it. Individual pieces of any kind rarely make my radar, although I try and pay attention to the stuff in the White box BECAUSE it’s in the white box. As ever, it’s not lack of interest, it’s lack of time.

Carol Chittenden, Eight Cousins

You said it, Rondi!
I really try hard to give reps an order, but with small presses it’s often so difficult to make a minimum. Having the books available from wholesalers is important to their continued life in our store.

Mike Joachim, The Paper Store

Short of an actual copy of the book (or a galley) the only information that reliably gets through to me is a rep with a catalog. There’s too much clutter too many emails vying for my attention and frankly even if something does get my attention the chance of it turning into an order is seriously low without the attention of a sales rep.

Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books

I agree on all points. A sales rep is most important to point out those titles that might sell in our store even if I can’t make minimums and get them from the wholesaler. I don’t have time to look at every catalog that comes to the store, especially without some direction. I really like supporting the small presses and will do so when I can.