Out for a run with a girlfriend who's a longtime bookseller, she shared the sobering news that her independent bookstore might not make it past the summer. Okay, folks, I'm still mourning All for Kids Books in Seattle and cannot grieve for yet another neighborhood institution to shutter.
So! After ignoring my umpteenth invitation from Facebook and Blogger friends to divulge 25 Random Things About Me, I thought I'd rather share some Random Ideas for Indie Bookstores to keep them going in this economy. (Note: I'm no expert on retail, but as an avid reader and stalwart book buyer, these are simply ideas that would make me eager to patronize my local bookstore...and to bring my friends.)
INDIE BOOKSTORES: RANDOM IDEA #1
With layoffs a reality and unemployment high, why not create a Career Seminar Series? Invite a local Life Coach to share his / her expertise on figuring out life's purpose and positioning ourselves to find, interview, and secure a new job in these economic conditions. THEN have the Life Coach book talk 10 awesome books about this very topic.
These career self-help books are the ones that people ought to BUY and use as a workbook, marking them up, scribbling notes, etc. They are INVESTMENTS, well worth the cost of the books.
Consider this: one of my acquaintances is a Life Coach. She had 20 clients in January, now she has 4. I would bet she would be motivated to conduct such a seminar for FREE.
Potentially partner with your closest library so you can work together to spread the word about the series to their patrons and your customers. Then, let local alumni groups (who maintain fairly large email lists) and organizers of local job fairs know about the seminar to generate more word-of-mouth.
Notify the press. This is hugely topical and relevant. I would be surprised if this didn't get you a feature story in the local section of your paper.
Today I am thankful for tenacious booksellers who enrich our communities.