Diary of a Bookseller #10
One of my favorite things to do at the bookstore is curate displays. As we’ve rearranged over the years, I’ve spent time focusing on bringing some of my favorite displays into the same area so when people are looking for recommendations, I have a designated spot to take them to that encompasses all genres and styles.
We call the shelves along the wall in the top left of the picture Department 22 because that’s the inventory code for our “If You Like This, Try This” section. There are 18 lead titles, each with 5 supporting titles. We feature all genres, and include both national and store specific bestsellers as the lead titles. It takes hours to come up with the custom list for the store (we curate it entirely on our own), but when people find new books to love, it’s all worth it.
Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club
We were being asked for Reese’s books all the time, and while some booksellers complain she promotes our greatest enemy, we see really strong sales for her selections and, maybe a bit surprisingly, we LOVE all of her choices here at the store. Her platform has done amazing things for debut female authors, she has good taste in books, and we’ve been lucky enough to host some of the authors from her list and they’ve been great events! We’ve done so well with her books that they get the prime real estate in the store.
Upcoming Book Club Books
We now have 13 book clubs at the store with great attendance as well as online followers of the selections! This time last year, we had only 3 book clubs. That was it, just 3. To have 13 book clubs that discuss a variety of subjects and with diverse members bring me such joy. Doing all the graphic design work for them is a pleasure and they all choose AMAZING books!
Previous Book Club Books
When I didn’t know what displays to do to fill these shelves before the holidays, I put out previous book club selections on a whim – we had additional stock after each meeting and it was a theme everyone could remember. What I didn’t expect was for so many customers to start following different groups selections, even if they couldn’t make it to the meeting. It’s such fun to see which clubs nonmembers gravitate towards, and it features 9 of the 13 book club thus far, with plans to expand! Each group’s selections can be found by clicking on the name of each book club after visiting the main page HERE.
The Indie Next List is put together by the ABA and is comprised of all the books independent bookstore employees are excited about in the coming months and features blurbs from booksellers like me! The upcoming lists can always be found on Indie Bound and we have displays both for upcoming ones, as well as previous selections that are new in paperback.
Many customers don’t know that publishers will send us signed first editions of books by both lesser and well known authors. Right now, we have signed copies of Eoin Colfer’s new book and will be getting signed copies of Erik Larson’s new book as well. We have, at any given time, signed first editions of roughly 50 titles. We ship all over the USA and love to send signed copies out and tell people we’re getting them as a great alternative to the massive online retailer who can’t boast signed copies on their new stock inventory.
We also have a selection of signed copies from authors who have visited our store and recently hosted a Reese Witherspoon author, Kiley Reid. We will always due our best, as well, to send signed and personalized copies of books out to anyone who cannot attend one of our events, but still wants a signed copy!
While they’re not visible in the picture above, our staff picks are also included in this space and we always have a new book up from every staff member every two weeks. During the summer, one of the department 22 shelving sections is transformed into our summer/vacation staff recommendations and during the holiday season, the whole department 22 displays transitions to holiday/gift staff picks and Jólabókaflóð titles!