New England Independent Booksellers Association
NEIBA
 
NEIBA Question of the Week #1


The NEIBA Board members are starting a Question of the Week on the NEIBA list serv. 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 was your bestselling non-book item over the holidays? 
 
At Bank Square Books it was Bucky Balls (now Bucky Squares are a hit) and Chat Packs with Equal Exchange Chocolate running a close second. - Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books 
 
Green Tree Earrings were the hot item here.  They're unusual, and the price point seemed to appeal. - Carol Chittenden, Eight Cousins
 
Our biggest hits (besides Moby Dick paraphernalia) was the solar waving Queen Elizabeth from Kikkerland. She's very regal. - Wendy Hudson, Nantucket Bookworks
 
At Bartleby's our biggest selling gift item were pens in the shape of tools (hammers, screwdrivers, etc) from Streamline. - Lisa Sullivan, Bartleby's Book
 
Our bestselling item was the self-powered Eco-Flashlight for kids by International Playthings. Farm theme outsold Zoo theme by about 2:1. - Caitlin Doggart-Bernal, Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookstore
 
Our best non-book sellers for the store this year were scarves (we carry an array of them and sold over 250 in Nov & Dec), Bananagrams (as always), and littlepencil cases & coin purses from Blue Q that students in particular seemed to love. - Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop
 
Maybe it's because we're in Northampton, or maybe it's because it's a local product, but Gay Coffee was not only our best sideline but one of our top 20 sellers of the year!  It's premium fair trade organic coffee with humorous gay/lesbian labels.  Get in touch with me if you want to get the details. - Nancy Felton, Broadside Bookshop
  
Our bestselling sideline is Summerhouse Soaps.  This is a Cape Cod company, so a natural fit for us, but I do think they could sell well anywhere.  They retail for $6.95 and we sold over 200 this holiday season. I wanted to share another sideline that came in at the very end of November, but which is making a big splash here.  It's socks from Sock It To Me in Oregon.  Very clever designs some of which work really well with books.  (Starry Night socks with the new Van Gogh biography, whaling socks with "Why Read Moby Dick" etc, etc.)  The Chat Noir, Giraffe and Koi Fish are among our bestsellers and draw people to the display. - Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb's Bookshop
 
Our holiday favorites were:
Envirosax - they just keep going and going and the new designs are beautiful. We get them through gift rep Sharon Smiley
Home Studio scrabble tile pendants - these were a neat addition, unique, and you can sell tiles only or packaged with the necklace. We got them through our gift rep at Shea Associates
3-d Bookmarks - whether the animation kind of the basic 3-D, they just keep selling. We get them both through Bill Palizzolo
Wellspring Flip Notes - we've had these for years, right at the front counter and they continue to sell. We order these directly.
And finally, Eye Event Light Up Reading Glasses - the reading glasses with little lights in them. Weird, but very useful. We got them through Bill Palizzolo as well. - Laura Lucy, White Birch Book   
 
At our Rhinebeck location our top selling non-book items were Pocket Discs (we have the video display for them & it is GREAT), our store t-shirts, The New Yorker magazine, and Seltzers 7 Year Pen. - Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books
 
Our bestselling item was a recordable parrot pen. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it made a great stocking stuffer. - Josie Leavitt, The Flying Pig Bookstore
 
At the Sherman's Bookstores, our bestseller on the non-book side was definitely Bucky Balls, despite it being of our most expensive sidelines at over $30. Keychain LED flashlights of LEGO characters, LEGO blocks & LEGO Darth Vader were a close second. Bananagrams remain a huge hit, although that popularity is most certainly not a surprise to anyone in NEIBA any longer.  - Josh Christie, Sherman's Books and Stationery
 
Our bestselling non-book item was definitely the Corkcicle Wine Chiller - we sold more than 200. We also did well with Bucky Balls & Bucky Cubes & Book Seats. - Kathryn Fabiani, RJ Julia Booksellers
 
At our Millerton store (and at Rhinebeck) our biggest non-book item overall is still recorded CDs. Adele let the way on December. We also did very well with the Isoflex Stress Ball from Toysmith and the variety of mints from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. - Dick Hermans, Oblong Books & Music
 
Booklights do the best out of all nonbook items for us. We sell the Mighty Bright & the I-Lite by Peter Pauper. We also sold a little Magnet stick figure called MiniQMan by Nuop Designs - the only sideline I reordered 4th quarter. - Janet Bibeau, Storybook Cove
New England Independent Booksellers Association
1955 Massachusetts Avenue, #2, Cambridge, MA  02140
(617) 547-3642; fax: (617) 547-3759
steve@neba.org                   nan@neba.org

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