How We Hope to Help Our Local Booksellers with our growing Grassroots Online Community, 'History as Spy Master'.
Not long ago, just after one of our local bookstores had to close down, a few of us book lovers were talking yet again about just how hard it must be to own a local bookstore in these times. Somewhere along the way, after a bottle or two of red, we decided to do something about it and some ideas started to flow. Another bottle or two later and more ideas suddenly appeared. We even remembered some of them the next day.
One idea was to host events in our local bookstores. Another was to better educate ourselves as to the industry and what its leaders, like James Patterson, was doing. That was how we learned about BINC and we thought, hey how can we work with BINC too? Another was how we could do cross promotions locally and avoiding selling online for as long as we could, even if it meant giving up a little bit more on those works we self published.
Finally, we realized that, in a nutshell, we simply had to build a community and get the word out that - hey - if we don't all do something and shop locally then there might not be any booksellers left to fight for.
That's how the idea of turning our little adhoc club of sharing articles and blogs on historical (fiction and nonfiction) topics into some sort of "online-community-building-tool".
We decided to use our sharing of information to create a grassroots platform focused on topics of interest, which would bring more like-minded people together - and use the platform to help promote our local stores. So we formed the blog History as Spy Master. (Neat story behind the name, you can read about it here - hint - has to do with one of our favorite espionage authors) (Also, we decided that any/all ad revenues and proceeds from any promotional items would go directly to BINC, so that should be interesting.)
Well, we arejust starting, and its currently a pretty small online community, but we are growing and we mean to keep at it and make a difference. Besides, we are not use to failing. O.K., well, we are but that sounded pretty good. But really, every blog and every subscription list and online community had to start with one subscriber, right? And we at least have more than one - soooo - we got that working for us...
Meanwhile, what can you, as an independent bookseller do? To quote Jerry Maquire 'Help us help you.'
First - Subscribe as a Bookseller.
Second, drop us an email and give us your feedback, and let us know if you want access to our subscription list in your area to help with some promotions. If we're not strong in your area, give us time; we'll target it and grow our community in your area. (It's sort of the whole idea, after all.)
Third, check out our independent bookseller data base below. If your bookstore is not on it, please add the store if you wish so people can find you. Or, if there are edits that need to be made to your listing because someone added you incorrectly or some information has changed, email me directly. (We will be adding a new feature by year end wherein a designated member of your store can just do any edits directly, just working that out - but it is coming!) And of course, if you are on it and for some reason want to get off it, just email me.
Meanwhile, we are going to continue to try to promote our collective interest through our tiny but growing grassroots community and preserve the experiences you and your peers have given us all of our lives, if only for our children, grandchildren and those yet to come.
Thanks for all you do,
Confessions of a Book Loving Author...And Six Things We Can Do Together to Support Our Local Booksellers
As an author, of course, I hope to look to our independent booksellers and their tireless (and always knowledgeable staff) to help promote my own work. That’s a little blunt and of course somewhat self-serving but also true.
But even more, my lifelong dependency upon independent booksellers is, probably much like yours, really more of that as an avid reader. Though in my case, to be honest, perhaps a bit more as I am a somewhat compulsive, socially dysfunctional reader who walks into privately owned bookstores - every town and city I visit - with the same reverence, excitement and hope of new discovery that a newlywed fellow might have entering his new bride’s dimly lit boudoir for the first time. (O.K - a little dramatic, but not that far off the mark if I’m too be honest, at least not for me.)
The point is that we all love our bookstores and we all want them to not only survive but to succeed. They are, after all, more than just a shop, more than a place to buy things. Their very existence in our neighborhoods add to both the neighborhood and to our lives, to our quality of life, to our enjoyment. (They also positively impact our community and economy, IN FACT THEY GIVE BACK TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY THREE TIMES MORE THAN CHAINS (Click to see what I mean)
But even that point aside, we both want and need them to survive. Who, after all, does not love to get lost in the stacks for hours and find a new, unexpected gem hidden away, poking out just enough so we can find it? I know I do, as I suspect you do as well. I myself – for example – cannot tell you how many times my children have sent search parties, complete with a dead-man-sled in tow – deep into the history stacks whenever I’ve managed to yet once again disappear for hours on end. And Oh! - the disappointment on the faces of those young, eager, erstwhile rescuers on finding me still alive….
Seriously though, we simply don’t experience that sort of joy while scrolling online or standing in a box store, nor are there smart, friendly people just around the next bookshelf only too happy to help us. No, these attributes can only be found in an environment designed by people who care, by folks who put an awful lot of themselves into their shop and our experience.
So, let’s support them as much as we can -
Here’s a few things we can do together:
SHOP LOCAL - EVEN WHEN SHOPPING ON LINE
Find and/or add your local bookseller in the list below and save their webpage as a favorite on your toolbar; then use them and PROMOTE them to your family and friends. Most have some sort of web ordering service already. But if they do not have an online store, ask your bookseller to consider reviewing this link, set up by the American Booksellers Association. It is designed to help independent booksellers sell online under their own store brand. http://www.bookweb.org/eCommerce_eBooks
LEARN ABOUT BINC You can help raise money for, or donate directly to the American Booksellers Association Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC). This foundation helps booksellers who may have suffered a setback get through a rough patch, like Hurricane Katrina or other unexpected challenge. Find out more here http://www.bookweb.org/advocacy/take-action
SUBSCRIBE Subscribe to your local bookseller’s contact list and/or blog and watch their calendar for events for special invites - and then go! And while you are at it, subscribe to our blog, ‘History as Spy Master’. Besides getting really interesting fiction and nonfiction hisotry blogs and articles etc - every advertising dollar from the blog and any proceeds after cost of the manufacture’s cost on any posters, cups hats, etc. in the blog store goes directly to BINC. We don’t touch a cent. In fact, we don’t even touch the merchandise, its just one of those online accommodation stores we started as a bit of a lark.
HUG A BOOKSELLER (YES, I SAID HUG) (O.K> - this may actually be illegal without asking first, so first ask and then hug after getting permission.) And yes, it sounds corny, but considering that owners and staff members are definitely not in it for the big-time money, a little loving can go a long way, especially on a bad day.
OR AT LEAST tell them how much you appreciate them. But make sure you are buying a book when you tell them – that really adds to the whole hugging thing.)
PROMOTE – ADOPT - GET INVOLVED Set up an event at your local bookstore to drive more people there; make that baby your own. You’ll need to work with them of course, but if whatever club or organization, school, business etc - you may belong to could host one event a year, it would make a big difference, especially if a few folks per bookstore ran an event. Do something locally, anything; a reading, an art exhibit, a wine tasting, maybe some Spanish guitar performance – always a winner! In the future, we will have a link here to help set up and promote local events. Just have to get our web guy to finish it up. If you are a SUBSCRIBER, you will get a notice when we have this neat online tool in place.
BUY FROM YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER. PERIOD.
Thanks for reading, let's show our support,