Saturday, December 17, 2011

Skipped a Day, but That's Not Necessarily a Bad Thing, Here's a Little Catching Up.

I was on my way to work this morning on snow-covered roads when I thought, "It's a good thing that our first slippery streets of the season are on a Saturday morning." That's just one bit of luck that retail has had this fall, at least in Milwaukee.

Our friend Dennis, who is in twice a week to browse/shop, take my emotional pulse, and give me the weather forecast, has predicted decent weather through Christmas, making it just about as good a holiday it can be from the standpoint of Mother Nature. For needless to say, every snowstorm sends sales to websites and away from the bookstore.

I wound up not posting yesterday, due to, well, being busier than we were last year and down a bookseller. I'm training three new folks this Sunday--my timing is a bit off, but we'll still need staff.  It also turns out that a bookseller or two will be out of the store for various things during the next two months--Winter Institute, a gift show, and so forth.

And yes, like many indie bookstores, we've built up some sales from Borders closing and that some ebook migration sales loss. And the best part for me? Every time something goes well, I worry about duplicating its success next year. And though my booksellers talk about the great job we're doing, publicity, compliments, and the like, I am more jaded about the whole thing--we have one less bookselling venue in the area and we were lucky enough to get a piece of the business. I don't think it hurts that B&N has been cutting book inventory as well.

And I noticed that the Target on Chase squeezed books a bit (among many other categories) to make room for their expanded grocery selections. They've also gone to taller, Walgreens-like shelving. But I still can't figure out what they are going to do with 75 copies of Operation, and that doesn't include the Star Wars and Spongebob versions. If I consider that the store in my neighborhood is at most a B- performer, that means that there are probably 100,000 copies of this game, waiting for a price promotion.

And to think that I am still reeling from a childhood birthday when I had a fight with my friend Alan, and he wound up not coming to my party and keeping Operation for himself. When we made up, he gave me a copy of Easy Money (Milton Bradley's Monopoly knockoff), which I already had and wound up regifting. So that copy of Operation had way more emotional heft for me (oh, to remove a wrenched ankle!), but I still didn't buy it.

I used some valuable time on Friday morning (I worked the closing shift) to book some 2012 events, and we're really excited about the schedule we are putting together. In addition to some big names coming to Boswell, I'm continuing to sprinkle events in alternative venues, from Sugar Maple to County Clare to Discovery World and of course area libraries. Our only problem? The bustle of the season has prevented us from getting all our January marketing plans in place.

On the gift front, I'm putting a few items on sale. We've been doing pretty well with a lot of items, and several of our spinners are looking a bit bare already. But there are a few seasonal items that could use a little incentive. I'm hoping to get an email out. Hoping.

And now it's time to do the books and restock. Enjoy your weekend and I'll be back with bestsellers tomorrow.

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