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More ABA bookseller collaboration: Lots of participation and a new book banning board


About six weeks ago, I wrote about an idea that I gave to the American Booksellers Association for a collaborative forum where indie bookstores could share ideas for book displays. The ABA bounced it back into my lap (good job on the delegation there, Sydney Jarrard!) and so I went ahead and ran with it. I made a couple of Pinterest boards and wrote a blog post, and then asked Sydney to do a bit of publicizing.

I started with two boards: Effective Bookstore Displays and Creative Bookstore Windows. I seeded each board with a few pictures from my store and went looking for help. After all, it’s not a collaboration unless there’s more than one participant! I ended the article with the line, “There are a few of my pictures to get the ball rolling. Let’s see how many more we can get on here in the next month. Challenge issued. Challenge accepted?” It certainly was.

Sydney included something in the ABA member newsletter, Bookselling This Week, and booksellers started showing up. Then it was picked up by Shelf Awareness, and just a few days ago the Christian Science Monitor ran an article. Now, each of the boards has almost 300 followers, and pictures are being placed by a half-dozen collaborators. I’m absolutely thrilled with the progress! Now, it seems like time for a bit of an expansion.

Pinterest

I’ve now added a third board to the collection: Book Banning & Censorship. Being both an author and a bookseller, I’m not a fan of censorship. I’ve written about it, spoken about it, made infographics about it, and now started a Pinterest board about it. So far, it only has 87 followers and a dozen pins. Here’s your new challenge: let’s see if we can have 500 followers and 200 pins on the censorship board by Banned Books Week (Sept 21-27, 2014). This one transcends the bookselling world, so I’m going to try to get librarians and authors to jump in and participate.

Become a part of the process!

To join in the process, visit the board(s) you are interested in and follow them. Then leave a comment here on this blog post using the same name you used on Pinterest. I’ll authorize you to pin, and you can start adding pictures from your own store.

I’m not a big fan of rules, but I’d like everyone to please do two things:

  1. Focus on ideas that everyone can use, instead of display products that you’d like them to buy.
  2. Try to put each picture on the most appropriate board only — let’s not get the same picture on all three boards, or get window pics on the display board.

Thank you! You do not have to be a member of the ABA to participate, but why on Earth would you have an indie bookstore and not want to join? They provide an awful lot of benefits for a very reasonable level of annual dues.

It’s a two way street! There are a lot of good ideas out there, and we want to get as many people participating as we possibly can.

Banned book pin by Porter Square Books

Here’s a great banned book pin by Porter Square Books on the shared boards.

Sharing compelling displays: An ABA bookseller collaboration


ABA logoThe American Booksellers Association Winter Institute last month in Seattle was all about sharing and education. Sometimes sharing ideas is enough to create new ideas along the way, and that’s just what happened to me. I attended some wonderful sessions about merchandizing and decorating, and when I was telling someone about it later, I wished I had copies of all of the slides I had seen.

Creating Compelling In-Store Displays was a panel featuring Arielle Eckstut and Joann Eckstut, authors of The Secret Language of Color; and Jonah Zimiles of [words] Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ. In this fascinating discussion of color and theme, they showed a variety of displays, store windows, tables, and fixtures, including some amazingly inexpensive and quick ideas that were still professional and eye-catching.

Gifts 101 wasn’t really about merchandizing, but panelists Linda Marie Barrett (Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café), Monica Holmes (Hicklebee’s Children’s Bookstore), and Jan Hall (Partners Village Store) showed a lot of pictures, including tables and racks that meshed books and gift items.

Identify and Cultivate Your Store Brand was all about making the look and feel — the “experience” — of your store together. Like the gifts session, its focus wasn’t merchandizing, but there were some amazing ideas. The panelists represented a diverse collection of bookstores. Nicole Sullivan (BookBar Denver) showed an amazing bar made out of books, Bradley Graham (Politics & Prose) has displays bigger than some of the sections in my store, and James Adams (5ive Creative) talked about case studies where he’d helped bookstores with their branding.

At the cocktail reception the last night of Winter Institute, I ran into Sydney Jarrard from the American Booksellers Association. Always eager to create more work for other people, I suggested to her that the ABA should create a Pinterest board where bookstores could share ideas for displays and window decorating. She enthusiastically agreed, talked to the boss, and dropped it back in my lap last week. I really have to work on saying “no” more often.

The Collaboration

I have now created not one, but two Pinterest group boards, one for in-store displays and one for windows. I started them with a few humble (very humble) pictures from my own store, and this blog post is the beginning of an effort to reach out to booksellers across the country (heck, around the world: I met book people from six countries at Winter Institute) and get everyone else sharing.

To join in the process, visit the board(s) you are interested in and follow them. Then leave a comment here on this blog post using the same name you used on Pinterest. I’ll authorize you to pin, and you can start adding pictures from your own store.

You do not have to be a member of the ABA to participate, but why on Earth would you have an indie bookstore and not want to join? They provide an awful lot of benefits for a very reasonable level of annual dues.

It’s a two way street! There are a lot of good ideas out there, and we want to get as many people participating as we possibly can. Here are the pictures I started things out with:

Effective Bookstore Displays

You can find this board at www.pinterest.com/garyrobson/effective-bookstore-displays/

Store Display-Benjamin

Who could possibly sell cat books better than a cat? I put copies of various cat-related books next to our bookstore cat Benjamin’s bed, so he’d attract attention and people would pick up the books when they stopped to pet him.

Store Display-MapsRed Lodge is right up against the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness near the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. We are surrounded by millions of acres (literally) of wilderness areas and outdoor activities. We decided to set up this display to keep the hiking guides, maps, atlases, and outdoor activity books all together. People coming in for a copy of Day Hikes in the Beartooth Mountains just might want to pick up a hiking map to go with it!

Creative Bookstore Windows

You can find this board at www.pinterest.com/garyrobson/creative-bookstore-windows/

Store Window-Computers

When we first started selling computer books, we tried to come up with a good way to show them off. Being quite a packrat, I have saved up computers since I got my first one in the 1970s, and I built a mini-museum in the front window. People stopped to look at the old acoustic coupler modem and Apple ][, and ended up coming in to pick up a Mac or Windows book.

Store Window-Halloween

Last Halloween, we decided to take the store right out onto the sidewalk. As you can see in the picture, the local high school had decorated the windows for the big game, and we put this inflatable black cat in front of the door, moving his head back and forth to watch people go by. You can’t always see into the store well due to glare on the windows, but you could sure see this fellow!

Okay, your turn!

There are a few of my pictures to get the ball rolling. Let’s see how many more we can get on here in the next month. Challenge issued. Challenge accepted?

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