Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Gift Post--Back to School, the Stuff Edition

As the sale fliers piled up on my dining room table, it started to occur to me that back to school, which had once been an August ritual, has migrated to July.  I think reasons are two-fold:
a. Way more schools start in August, particularly in other parts of the county
b. It's a very important part of many retailers' years, and they would like to do nothing more than expand that business. This means, in many cases, poaching sales from other retailers, and that means starting earlier.  It's not that different from Christmas and Halloween.  Jason noted to me that in many retailers, Halloween displays are up already.  Honestly, I don't think that's going to happen at Boswell until September.

With the ebbing of the one staple of bookstore sales for back to school, the dictionary, as well as the increased difficulty in capturing the course adoption market in higher ed, we've found our focus has been the plethora of children's books about going back to school every year.  I'm hoping to focus on a few of these books in our next email newsletter.

OK, I'll mention Skippyjon Jones: Class Action, by Judy Schachner, partly because we have hung a plush Skippyjon Jones over our floor display, and partly because it sounds like if I don't mention him, he'll sue me. Isn't this book about his pre-law experiences? No, apparently it's about this Siamese Cat who wants to go to school with his dog friends.  They need training, you know.  Cats stay at home in their kitty condos.  Everyone knows that.

Schachner's books are as boisterous as many of our little visitors, who dream of jumping off the tops of our bookcases into a pile of packing peanuts. 

On the stuff front, this is the first year that I've focused a bit on back to school.  I thought, surely I can find a cute lunchbox and a nice backpack to feature. So in addition to picking up some pirate merchandise (we already sold out of the folders, but I might go back for more) that was school appropriate, I did schedule a shipment of cute lunchboxes and backpacks. Now that I think about it, I did have a sock monkey lunchbox that we sold quite well last year. In addition, we found a nice deal in animal chalkboards.  They might not work for bringing to class, but don't they make your workspace appear ready to solve a partical physics longhand?

The lunchboxes match the David Kirk items we brought in for summer play.  And the backpacks are from the same collection as the popular alarm clocks we carried last year. I'm particularly excited about us putting hooks on one of our poles to display the backpacks.  It was unused space that was crying out for something.

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