The boom in e-reader and tablet sales are creating stiff competition for brick and mortar bookstores. Just as the corporate chains threatened to gobble up the independent competition in the pre-tablet, today’s digital media giants threaten brick and mortar merchants. Bookstore owners and managers are forced to think outside of the proverbial box in order to find creative ways of marketing their tangible wares for a public increasingly drawn to cloud storage and digital copies.
Many bookworms who are still dedicated to their physical copies don’t realize just how much they can help these bookstores increase their reach. Here are a few ways to spread the love and help them boost visibility and increase vitality.
- Shop Locally – Everyone knows about the cultural shift to shopping locally in response to growing corporate monopolies. Still, the “buy local” ethos doesn’t always extend to books and the local stores that sell them. Part of supporting your community is supporting local businesses, which includes bookstores as much as groceries and boutiques.
- Be a Buyer, Not a Browser – One of the most troubling new trends in book buying is brick and mortar browsing, but online purchasing. Booksellers refer to the phenomenon as the “brick and click” mentality, and it’s actively using the resources of a local store while driving revenue to online retailers. These days, it’s not uncommon for customers to browse their local bookstore, ask the staff for recommendations or assistance, then leave empty-handed in order to purchase those recommendations at bargain prices online. Reading a few pages, checking out displays and sifting through staff recommendations makes it easy to choose intriguing new reads, but using your local bookstore as a tool to build your online shopping list doesn’t help to support your local seller’s bottom line.
- Become a Promoter – Follow your favorite local bookstore through social media outlets. Broadcast their hard work with clever displays by snapping a photo, then tagging the store when you share it on your own page. Retweet and share promotional updates, especially for in-store appearances and special author events. In a bid to stay relevant as they move into the digital age, more bookstores are making a point of hosting special events with which online retailers can’t hope to compete. Make a point of becoming a cheerleader for your local bookstore, potentially driving more traffic to their pages and customers to their storefront.
- Support Affiliate Programs –There’s no denying the convenience and joy of carrying hundreds of books in one small device. One thing even many dedicated e-book lovers don’t know is that plenty of independent bookstores have jumped on the digital bandwagon in their own unique way. Some e-reader manufacturers have actively paired with local booksellers in order to facilitate a profit share for e-books sold while others operate on an affiliate system. When you purchase your e-books through a local bookstore’s affiliate program, you’re able to fill your device while still supporting your favorite brick and mortar store.
Your local bookstore is working hard to prove their relevance to a new generation of readers, and you can help by supporting those efforts. Shopping at your local bookstore and encouraging others to do the same is a great way to make sure more of your money stays in your community, supporting job growth and helping the local economy flourish.