#8 First Edition Clubs

NEIBA Question of the Week #8

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:

Does your store have programs in place such as First Editions Clubs, which affirms our position as tastemakers? What other “tastemaking” programs do you offer? Grandparents sending their grandchildren a book once a month, etc.?

How are the sales reported for these programs? I.E., do you charge people’s credit cards in advance (the 15th of the month prior, say) and then report all the sales when the book goes on sale? Or do they ring up these charges one at a time when customers come in to pick up the book? Why would they favor one way over another?

Reporting all those sales at on-sale has the opportunity to help push a book onto the NYT Bestseller List, which means a lot in terms of “making” these kind of book books. Three hundred fifty sales at one time could be the difference between getting on the list or not. So reporting all at once really is “tastemaking” in action. The second method can sustain a book on the NEIBA list for a longer period of time but the first way would also keep the book on the NEIBA list. – Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books

Carol Chittenden, Eight Cousins

We do our Picks of the Year in the fall, and those get reported as they sell. These are about 45 juvenile titles, with two or three for each age level 0-15. They’re specially displayed in the store all through November and December, written up in 4th Quarter e-newsletters, and featured on our website all year long. They also become the backlist staff knows best.

Since we’re relatively new to full-range adult bookselling, we haven’t yet worked out any promotional programs other than table displays that change about every two weeks. I’d be very curious to hear more about them from other booksellers, as the idea doesn’t appeal to me off the top — but I’m probably (so often!) missing something about it.

Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett, Booksellers

The largest scale thing we do is provide two area newspapers with Picks of the Year for their annual Holiday gift guides. All the books in the guides make up a promotional table in the store. This strongly focuses sales on our top handselling titles. A First Edition clubs seem like an excellent idea and I look forward to hearing more about them.

On the subject of tastemaking there is a very nice article in Salon.com on the genesis of The Hunger Games phenomenon which details partnering between New England Sales reps and booksellers.