The American Bookseller Association's Winter Institute held in Baltimore last month was an extraordinary experience, with many important take-aways for independent booksellers. We'd like to highlight a few items important for all our members to know about and take advantage of.
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1. Ryan Rafaelli's powerful report about the indie bookstore resurgence
The conference keynote featured a unique and compelling report about "the novel resurgence of independent bookstores" by Harvard Business School professor, Ryan Rafaelli. This overview describes his research, which will read like a personal history of many bookstores.
Rafaelli studies businesses that reinvent themselves, and when looking for an industry that exemplifies rebirth, he discovered indie bookstores and dedicated nearly a decade to studying their rebirth and success. He identified "the 3C's" that contributed to indie bookstore resurgence: community, curation, and convening.
We encourage you to read the report and watch the video that highlights his research, and also encourage your staff to do the same. What's especially noteworthy to us as an association is his conclusion that supporting one another is a key part of our success--share best practices, attend trade events, report your bestsellers each week, complete your ABACUS report. As you can see in this infographic, sharing best practices is a key element in the success of our sales channel.
New technology platforms and tools were announced that have the potential to lead to big steps forward for indie bookstores.
2. Bookshop.org sets out to capture Amazon affiliate sales to benefit bookstores
A new online book-buying platform built from the ground up to support indie bookstores--Bookshop.org is now live. Bookshop is many things. It's a robust affiliate program for media, publishers, authors, and fans--a universal site they can link to other than Amazon that directly supports indie bookstores.
It also offers an easy and convenient shopping experience for customers. Clicks are minimal, and orders are fulfilled by Ingram. The ABA will link to Bookshop via IndieBound, with the hope of achieving a more successful customer conversion rate that IndieBound was able to offer.
Bookstores are also encouraged to become a Bookshop.org affiliate. If you don't yet have e-commerce, this is a good way to reach new customers, as it offers "resource-strapped stores a simple solution that requires no technical knowledge, no financial investment, and no internal resources (inventory, picking, packing, shipping, customer service) and allows [booksellers] to easily sell books using social media, email, and the web."
What you can do:
3. Edelweiss360: A powerful new e-marketing tool designed for busy booksellers
In the realm of digital marketing, the folks at Edelweiss launched a e-newsletter marketing service built directly into Edelweiss Analytics, allowing bookstores to create targeted email campaigns in minutes. As PW reports, "Not only can [booksellers] select the customers to receive the mailing in Edelweiss, but the contents of the mailing, including cover and jacket art and copy are all in the same program. In addition, they can get data on how many people open the email, how many click on a link, conversions (or books purchased), and halos (purchases of other books and products at the same time)." The service sounds awfully promising, so we encourage you to give it a try.
Edelweiss360 will be available to subscribers of the Summit tier of Edelweiss+Analytics mid-year 2020. Interested stores can learn more about Edelweiss360 and subscribe to the mailing list for updates here.
What you can do:
4. Bookstore Link from Libro.fm matches online customers to bookstores
The folks at Libro.FM are offering Bookstore Link, a tool that lets anyone enter a book title and search for an indie bookstore where they can order that title. When someone links to a book on Bookstore Link, the reader chooses their independent bookstore and is connected to that bookstore’s website to make their purchase, and the bookstore keeps 100% of each sale. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
What you can do: Check to see if you're a bookstore member of libro.fm; contact Mark Pearson (email@example.com) if you'd like to participate