Ultimate Free Advertising Idea for Used Book Shops

We all know that we need to advertise, and we all know that it’s very difficult to know how and where to advertise. It tends to be expensive, and so often it doesn’t work. We know that people aren’t going to come to our book store if they don’t know we are there.

I’ve given this a lot of thought.

In my previous piece – ‘The Second Renaissance’ – I wrote about the internet and how it is changing communication and attitudes. It would seem that the internet is a good place to advertise. Websites are neither difficult nor expensive to set up and maintain. The downside is that there are, literally, billions of websites so the book buyers aren’t likely to find your website unless they already know about it.

We also know that book people – and especially used book people – like to visit as many stores as they can, because, unlike B&N or Chapters, every one of our stores is different. So I thought it would make sense to have a lot of used bookshops on one site. Actually, it would be best if ALL the used bookstores were on one site, searchable by location. If that were the case, anyone going for a drive, or moving, or visiting another city, could go to the site and find out what bookstores there were in the area, their hours, location, number of books, etc.

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Scam Warning…

  With so many transactions happening on the internet, it has become increasingly important to pay attention when buying, to track your purchases, and to monitor your credit card bills, debit card transactions, etc. There are so many scams going on out there that I wouldn’t bother to write about any particular one, except that … Read more

Group Advertising

 We have a magazine here in southern Ontario called ‘Daytripping’. I imagine there are similar publications elsewhere. It’s published every 2 months and can be picked up free at all its advertisers as well as tourist booths and so on. All the ads are for individual stores – no chains. It’s just about the only … Read more

A short bio or a long introduction…

[editor’s note] We have a new bookseller aboard. Bob Lewis comes to us from Ontario, Canada and will be adding his views and experiences to our site, thanks for sharing your bio here Bob.


I spent my first 8 years in England near Codicote – a village founded by the Romans just north of London. When I was 8 the lady next door taught me to read – took her about 6 weeks – Mrs. Batts, a retired school teacher – I’ll be grateful to her forever.

That was in ’56, just before we moved to Canada. For this (among other things) I’ll be grateful to my parents forever.

In 63 I got interested in world politics, environment and religion, proceeded to get very depressed, quit school and spent the next few years working on farms (Peace River), in factories, logging camps, (Queen Charlotte Islands) etc.   Reading all the while, of course. Huxley’s ‘Doors of Perception’ inspired me to look into the 60’s drug culture which introduced me to Eastern thought, broke me of seeing the world from a strictly ‘logical’ perspective, and enriched my life immeasurably.

In ’83 my partner and I bought a country general store on a summer tourist route in a little hamlet called Sylvan in southern Ontario – maybe 25 people. We did well for a while, followed by a 5 year period during which our road was closed for the better part of 4 summers. We closed the store and it slowly filled up with ‘stuff’.

Meanwhile, a friend (Scott Davidson) and I had started a weekly newspaper. We did that for about 2 years. The paper was extremely well received but neither of us was any good at selling ads, which is where the money is. We used to fantasize about winning the lottery and not having ads. Since neither of us bought tickets, that didn’t happen. We never made any money, and eventually had to give it up.

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