Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Day with Librarians Part 3: Exciting Ideas for Bookstores and Libraries!

One can dream, can't one? What's the idea that will send your library (or bookstore) into the next level of circulation (or sales)? Some bigger libraries have gift shops, and others have little cafes where they sell off titles that no longer are wanted for the colllection. Several of those wind up being offered to us to buy as second-hand books. We don't take them generally for the same reason the library didn't want them.

Idea #1: Amigurumi knitting club, or maybe group. We've been seeing these books for a year or so, and I continue to be fascinated. My friend Heidi at the Quayside booth said the New England libararians were fascinated by the book, but it wasn't so hot at this show. I tried buskering it to no success. Her booth placement was not so good--somebody do something about this!

It turns out Anne at Macmillan also has an Amigurumi book. Ingram has about 9 of them in the database. I bet a Japanese bookstore has a case of 'em. The Loop knitting store isn't that far away. And the thing is, I'm not really interested in knitting a sweater vest. I am, however, intriqued with the idea of knitting a baby eggplant.

Idea #2: Bronze Statue of person (preferably child) reading book in front of building. There was a whole slew of them at one booth at the show. If not a child, a grandparent with grandchild seems also acceptable. A stockbroker or nurse, not so much.

These lifelike bronze sculptures follow (haunt) me whenever I go west to visit people. Near my sister Merrill, there were streets and streets of them in Mesa. Near my niece Jocelyn, they were strewn along the river. The one in front of the library was reading a book.

Other popular props are violins, butterflies, and baseball bats. Can you ask the artist to substitute knitting needles if you own a craft store? Or perhaps if you have an amigurumi knitting class?

Sadly, I could not find a book of bronzes of children? What, nobody is collecting these?

Idea #3: Sell Pampered Chef on the Side and Save Money on Conventions. I got a little lost geting to McCormick Place, where the convention was. I took the lovely bike/running path along Lake Michigan, and wound up about a half mile east of the show.

When I entered, through a parking garage, having already slipped on my bottom and muddied my fortunately already brown pants on a greasy patch, I wound up way on the other side of the complex, smack dab in the middle of the Pampered Chef sales conference.

If you've worked in an office, you know that Pampered Chef is party-plan program for selling cookware. Neither booksellers nor librarians are considered top performers salary-wise. So a little moneymaking opportunity holds some appeal.

Other marketing opportunities to make a little extra cash:
1) cosmetics = Avon
2) cleaning products = Amway
3) nutritional supplements = Herbalife or Shaklee
4) storage solutions = Tupperware
5) baskets = Longaberger
6) office supplies = Here's Your Opportunity

Of course, you may have to spend a little money to get your program going...

Now some of these companies really have business plans where the profit depends on selling the product, while others are multi-level marketing programs more concerned with getting folks to join the sales team. And while I think Pampered Chef is more of the former, it was odd that in all the promotional material I saw for the convention floor, the banners and signs only had pictures of salespeople (women in particular, if memory serves). No oven mitts, no garlic presses, no lobster forks, no asparagus roasters.

On the other hand, if you sold PC on the side, you could have gone to both conventions at the same time and saved on hotel and air fare. And even taxi fare!

And in another shout out to PC, I got a ringing endorsement of the asparagus roaster on the ALA floor.

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