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NEIBA 2017 Exhibit Report

08 Dec 2017 5:45 PM | Charlotte Pierce (Administrator)

Observations on Bookstore Marketing - NEIBA Report

by Bonnie Kreitler, Rambling Dog Publications

Volunteering for IPNE at September's New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) convention was a great way to meet people who love books. Those strolling the exhibit floor were bookstore buyers (and a few librarians) looking to discover the next best new books. Others (publishers like us IPNE members) were there to be discovered by buyers. So how did that work out?

I went to learn more about book discovery, so during the afternoon of the exhibit day, I went on a walkabout to see what other publishers (most bigger most IPNE members) were doing to attract store buyers and to learn what a small publisher might duplicate. I also approach strolling store buyers to ask them directly to ask how they preferred learning about new books.

Here are my notes:

  • Book buyers like access to advanced reader copies (ARCs) but have a preference for physical copies. Electronically, they like Edelweiss and give Netgalleys a pass.
  • Hearing about a book from a trusted source definitely gets points—a customer, another bookseller, a librarian, a book distributor’s rep, a trusted reviewer or book catalogs they trust to carry the kind of books they stock.
  • Reviews are important but book buyers want them to be CREDIBLE—from a trusted source (see above), starred reviews from trusted sources like Publishers Weekly, Library Journal. Reviews from paid review sources are ignored.
  • Some independent bookstores hold space for local authors. See if this might work for your book in some way.
  • NEVER say AMAZON to a bookstore buyer. Either to their face, on your website, in your marketing literature, etc., etc. One said that they don’t mind an Amazon buy button on a site as long as there’s at least a buy button for IndieBound above it.
  • Which brings me to rack cards. Rack cards at an exhibit from booksellers should give booksellers information they want and need to order: all basic metadata like publication date, number of pages, ISBNs of all formats, the name of the book’s distributor (if you have one) and the name of the wholesalers stocking the book (Ingram and Baker & Taylor are the big gorillas). If your rack card says get it from Amazon or has no way for them to order the book except directly from you, they will move on.
  • Book buyers also move on if a book’s cover or copyright page clearly indicates it is a self-published book, print-on-demand book. If they are interested enough to check out your web site, they are looking for signs and the only way to get the book is through Amazon or another POD distribution channel, they will move on.

Fellow volunteers Charlotte Pierce, Lisa Cohen, and Donna Markussen made for great company. Our books are very different but, in between conversations with potential book buyers, we were able to share and explore marketing ideas with one another. Thanks, all! - Bonnie Kreitler

Rambling Dog Publications LLC
P.O. Box 547|Southport, CT 06890|203-254-9230 office
New Fiction Release! I HEARD YOUR DOG DIED: Imaginings for Those Who Have Lost a Pet - ** 2017 IBPA Ben Franklin Book Awards Silver Medalist **

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