(the original version)
Have you blocked off your calendar to attend the NAIBA Conference? It is Monday - Wednesday,
Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Somerset Doubletree, Somerset, NJ. We'll have booksellers, publishers, authors, andyou
iS FREE to ABA members. If you aren't a member, join now
and then join the party.
Chester County Books in West Chester, PA has lots of fixtures available and needs to get rid of them quickly. Interested parties can call Tim Skipp at 484-881-2635 to get more information on cost and pick up.
|Our Sponsors of Winter Institute Dinners|
Idea You Can and Should Use: Customer Survey
by Rita Maggio, BookTowne, Manasquan, NJ
At the beginning of the New Year, our staff met to brainstorm on what we needed to do to grow the business. We determined we needed feedback from the community and so developed a 10 question survey, with questions that would give us the specific information we needed.
Our subject line in the e-mail was "BookTowne needs Your Help". The response was incredible. At least a quarter of our contacts opened the e-mail and their suggestions were invaluable. We expected a very good response on the first question: Is it important to you to have an independent bookstore in your community.? 98% replied "Yes."
Then we asked how many books they bought last year and what percentage of these were purchased at BookTowne, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Costo. To our great surprise, our strongest competition is Costco, which indicates to us that people are not going to Costco to buy books, but do so impulsively.
We asked people how many of our events they attended last year and what are their time preferences for events. We've been disappointed with some of our attendance at events. The response was also interesting- the most favored date and time was Friday at 7:00pm, followed by Tues and Thursday at 7:00pm. We will make a major change to our event calendar. Likewise, we had previously had children's authors in on Sat or Sunday 11-1, but our survey showed customers want them to begin at 1:00pm.
We have been concerned about the expense of advertising. When we asked people the best way to notify they about BookTowne events, the 98% said was our newsletter. That certainly helps us!
The last question was, "What would you like to see us offering to encourage you to be a more frequent shopper at BookTowne?" Though the greatest number of responses made us feel good: "keep doing what you're doing," "we love everything you're doing," and "I don't need encouragement," other comments like, "offer special discounts when you buy a certain number of books" made us realize many people do not know we already do that. (Staff must be trained to offer everyone a frequent buyer card!) Other comments like, "have specials from time to time," and "offer occasional coupons" will be looked at for 2013.
We have taken these comments to heart and are making changes in our scheduling and our discounting e.g. immediately a rack went up with 30% hardcover books on display (before returns are packaged). We continue to review the results and make changes to our systems. We expect these decisions to have positive effects on BookTowne.
Become an ABA Member
As a member of NAIBA, we would like to extend to you a special offer to join ABA for $50 for your first year. Founded in 1900, the ABA is a not-for-profit trade organization devoted to meeting the needs of its members through education, business products and services, marketing and advocacy.
Now more than ever, whether a new or used bookstore, it is important for indie bookstores to be part of a larger network. And while the economy is still difficult, and the industry ever-changing, we are confident that indies have a profitable future ahead.
ABA membership includes:
Education and networking
, where you can expand your knowledge of the industry through web-based curriculum guides as well as programs like the annual Winter Institute
- The Book Buyers Handbook, a fully-searchable database directory of up-to-date information on publisher's contact information, current promotions and special offers;
- IndieBound D.I.Y, with over 100 design files that can be used for in-store and online marketing, all inspired by local first and independent business advocacy;
- Online Bookseller forums, where you can communicate with other indies all over the country and post questions and comments;
- ABA's website solution, IndieCommerce , and our ebook partnership with Kobo.
For a full list of ABA membership benefits, please visit this page.
According to NAIBA executive director Eileen Dengler, this is an offer that no bookseller should pass up:
"Being a member of the ABA is incredibly important. ABA provides so many services that are difficult for NAIBA to create or manage on a regional level. Your support through dues to both Associations ensures our strength and vitality, and guarantees we are there for you, every day, with insight, services, and programs."
This offer expires on May 15, 2013, so join today using the promo code regional13.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Kaitlin Pitcher & Eileen Dengler
PS - I know it is hard to believe, but there are bookstores who haven't joined the NAIBAhood! It's an easy fix. Here's the form
New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Assn