Book Shop Advertising: What the Pros Do

Of course there are two facets to book shop advertising, Online and real or Brick and Mortar advertising. For this article we’ll focus on what a real, physical book shop can do to let the community know they exist. We have a few articles already on this site that go over different techniques of book shop advertising – so we’ll start with these.

One thing that is often discussed here is whether an investment should be made in your local paper. Should your hard to come by dollars be spent with traditional advertising (coupons, local paper, flyers) or should you be thinking outside the box. I’ve always thought that the traditional methods of book shop advertising didn’t give you enough bang for your buck. People either throw out flyers before looking at them or glance at them with out paying much attention. The only way for flyers/newspaper ads to work is by being repetitive – doing an ad a week or a flyer a week over the course of a few months and this can start to get expensive.
Before we get into some other options and this will be crucial if you haven’t yet made the big decision on where to locate your store, we want to discuss your strongest method for advertising – the location of your shop. If it sits on the corner of Main and First then people will notice it, they will discuss it and they will visit it. If you are tucked around the corner on Cheap Street then you will always be climbing an uphill battle and it will eventually tire you out. Here’s an article by a guy who knows what I’m talking about. George now has 5 shops I think and here’s what he says on the all important location question.

It took me 17 years before I overcame the mental block about “low rent = possible success over many years” and tuned in to the reality “high rent (the rent required to obtain a legitimate retail location) = assured success within 2-3 years leading to continuous growth.”

The only cautions I would add – be sure you have a broad-based inventory of at least 15-20,000+ books and make sure your store has high visibility (try not to be in the middle of a block – look for a corner location). rest of story..

Now perhaps you already own a great little shop and you have just dropped by for a few tips on getting a few more visitors. Have you thought of some chalk marks on your sidewalk?

Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. A lot of in-store book sales come from walk in traffic. Even if you’re in a high traffic area getting people in the door isn’t always easy. Just because they’re there doesn’t mean they notice your store. To up the odds people do notice your store, or get them to travel the block over from the high traffic area to your quieter location, pull out the chalk.

Finally here are a few quick links to a few other book shop advertising ideas by our writers.

I hope you’ll find some of these tips useful in your quest for effective book shop advertising. If you have any other ideas, by all means please share them via a comment.

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    Off The Shelf Books Ltd
    June 28, 2011 - 8:24 pm

    Thanks for this link. We have just had our fifth anniversary, and have tried local advertising, mailbox flyers etc. Now have our own local paper, so advertising every month, and also on Facebook recently. Not yet sure aof the results from Facebook. Amazing still how many people who live near still haven’t noticed we are here. Also amazing how much word of mouth promotion we are getting all over the region.

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