Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Gift Post--Updated Magnetic Play Sets, New Write Now Journals.

We got a new shipment of Melissa and Doug last week and because it generally makes sense to order in enough to get to the freight-paid level, it means 13 cartons of receiving, which can take up a hunk of time. It also meant that I ordered some of their holiday-themed stuff now, as last year, when I ordered it in September, it was mostly gone.

One thing I noticed was that they redeed a lot of their magnetic playsets with new artwork. Princess Elise became Princess Alyssa, and Nina Ballerina became Leah Ballerina. Even Abby and Emma, the double set, became Chloe and Zoe. The old skus are still on their website, but no longer in the catalog. I was curious what market research led them to make the changes.

Anyway, we're now quite well stocked up in their popular kits, which are still selling well, though not quite blowing out the way they were a couple of years ago. I don't think the reason is competition (though the New York Times notes that they've trippled the business in the last five years, which means they are in a lot more retailers, and no longer focusing solely on independents), but because Amie put in a Klutz rack, which if pretty direct competition for party gifts.

The rest of the order were puzzles, baby toys, and a plush Jack Russell terrier, which was the closest approximation we could find to a coonhound for Halley's Maddie on Things display. Maddie's coming with her author pal Theron Humphrey on Tuesday, July 23.

Not too much received except for cards this week, but we did get more of our Write Now journals from Compendium. Stacie had noted previously that there was one with a Jane Austen quote on the jacket, and another, featuring Audrey Hepburn on the front, was Paris themed.

Now what bookseller can say no to that, especially with two important Paris-themed events coming up, Toby Barlow's Babayaga on Wednesday, August 21, and Antoine Laurain's The President's Hat on Tuesday, September 24. OK, I know I do a little too much event dropping, and I'm sure if I wasn't both buying gift items and booking events, that they wouldn't find themselves seeping into the Saturday blog, but we're excited about all three, so how can I not say something?

These journals have sold quite well, as unlike many, there are additional drawings inside--it's not just one jacket illustration and then take your pick of lined or unlined (or with Moleskine, squared). And even though they are soft cover, which in my experience does not sell quite as well as hardcover, they are also $6.95. We double checked at one point to make sure that was not the net price. 

If you're curious, Nathan Rabin's Phish-inspired mushroom table turned into a non-Phish-inspired mushroom table, with a few field guides and a cookbook mixing with the mushroom wind chimes and storage boxes. I do think, however, that the Insane Clown Posse clown is still hovering nearby.

We're hoping that we'll sell a good amount of bicycle mugs and coin purses for the Downer Classic bike race. If you're planning to drop by the store today, remember that you're going to have to park several blocks to the south of us, and it could be crowded.

No comments: