Friday, June 24, 2011
It's one of those tricky things. Bookstores need revenue to offsite the cost of events. But often times it's a balancing act between maximizing attendance and maximizing sales. Publishers usually know that if the event is offsite, there will usually be an admission charge, with the exception of our library events. Many other charges convert to a gift card. But in the case of our $5 admission charge, we usually limit that to $5 off the event book in question, as part of our goal is to maximize sales of the book we are promoting.
To put this in perspective, we decided to charge $5 for Geraldine Brooks, but after talking to the publisher, decided to make the Ann Patchett event free, encouraging people to come, even if they bought their book elsewhere.
Oh, and there's a fourth thing, a great author experience. If the author leaves happy, that makes a difference. Good thing there are sweet potato and black bean burritos nearby.
There's another reason that these admission charges are being discussed. Fewer folks are buying books at the stores they visit. and quite frankly, many of us need to make up the loss revenue to stay afloat. I think this topic warrants a completely separate blog entry, but I'll share the comment that our Chicago pal Mary spotted on the New York Times site:
"When I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we had a fantastic independent bookseller, Harry W. Schwartz. It was THE place for author events and they got some amazing authors. Within about ten to fifteen years of Amazon hitting its stride, Schwartz was gone. Amazon's rise and Schwartz's fall are not unrelated. They never charged for author events; if paying $3.00 or $5.00 to attend would have saved them, I would have been honored to do it, but now I'll never know."
Posted by Daniel Goldin at 4:30 PM