Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What Does Your Store Do?

Summer is over. The crowds have left the Cape. No longer are the streets packed with people who forgot their intended summer reads and have no permanent address where Amazon.com can send their orders to. This leaves our shop with only the faithful year round residents and the occasional and possibly accidental walk-ins to pawn our paperback wares to.
Yesterday I posed a challenge to the members of my staff. I wanted each of them to try and think of an idea/gimmick/scam/kidnapping plot to attract a fresh, new audience to our bookstore and win back the crusty bottomed crowd that would rather sit at home and shop than peruse the aisles of a local indie. We already do in-store book signings and readings, as well as the seasonal museum tour or two. These work well, but we're noticing that it's the same faces attending every time. We've also been doing out-of-store events, mostly due to the tireless promotional work of one our store's best handsellers, Kay. These, too, have been highly effective. But now we need something new to add to our arsenal. So we're putting the question out to you, the readers.
As a bookstore employee/owner, what does your store do to attract a crowd?
And as a bookstore shopper, what sorts of things do you look for in the stores that you frequent?