It’s the most wonderful time of year—the holiday season! Our bricks-and-mortar bookselling partners are telling us they’re already seeing customers seeking advice on the best gifts to buy for loved ones. It’s a beautiful opportunity for booksellers to put more books into the hands of readers. And, based on 2017 data reported by Gartner L2’s Intelligence Report, 84% of holiday sales are happening at bricks-and-mortar stores.
So how might we celebrate and empower the vital part of our business that takes place in the thousands of bookstores across the country during the holiday season? Over the summer, a group of industry members came together and decided to tackle this head-on. The inaugural Love Your Bookstore celebration—scheduled for Saturday, November 10, through Friday, November 16—gives book lovers an opportunity to share their love for physical bookstores. It’s an industry-wide celebration of all bricks-and-mortar bookstores across America, and it includes the participation of both independents and national stores.
Since officially announcing this campaign in late September, we have received extraordinary support from across the industry, including Barnes Noble, BookCon, Books-a-Million, Edelweiss/Above the Treeline, Grove Atlantic, HarperCollins, Libro.fm, Literary Hub, NetGalley, and Penguin Random House. Everyone involved is thrilled to have the opportunity to brainstorm ways to increase foot traffic for our bricks-and-mortar retail partners.
When American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher introduced Barnes Noble founder and chairman Len Riggio’s keynote at BookExpo this year, he said, “The simple fact is that our business is stronger, and American readers benefit when there is a vibrant and healthy network of bricks-and-mortar bookshops all across the country.” At a time when our nation might be viewed as divided and challenged, bookstores offer a sense of all that’s possible in the world, a place of hope and wonder. All bookstores create this sense of discovery, and we want to come together to celebrate them all.
Among the goals for Love Your Bookstore is to flood Twitter and Instagram feeds with pictures of readers celebrating their favorite bricks-and-mortar bookstores. With that in mind, we created the Love Your Bookstore Challenge, which will encourage book lovers to do the following:
❖ Visit their favorite bookstores between November 10 and November 16.
❖ Take pictures with books they love or want to gift this holiday season (and yes, buying is totally allowed).
❖ Post the photos on social media with the hashtag #LoveYourBookstore.
❖ Challenge three to five friends to take the Love Your Bookstore Challenge.
The challenge will kick off November 10—with high-profile authors, publishing folks, and readers initiating the event—and will continue through November 16. Publishers are putting together several book-themed prizes that will serve as incentives to motivate readers to participate.
We want the entire publishing community involved with Love Your Bookstore. If you’d like to contribute, you can help out in a variety of ways:
❖ Spread the word! Promote Love Your Bookstore across Twitter, Instagram, websites, mailing lists, and newsletters. We’ve made downloadable assets live on our website, so feel free to use them to help people discover Love Your Bookstore.
❖ Submit book-themed prizes that can be used as incentives (email email@example.com).
❖ Sign up for our newsletter and tell us why you love your bookstore.
❖ Participate in the challenge.
The steering committee for Love Your Bookstore includes Becky Anderson (co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops), Michael Jacobs (president and CEO of Abrams Books), Carl Lennertz (executive director of the Children’s Book Council), Dominique Raccah (publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks), and George W. Slowik Jr. (president of Publishers Weekly). For more information on how you can participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out loveyourbookstore.com.
We’re still at the very beginning of creating Love Your Bookstore, but we’ve gathered a lot of steam and hope you will join us and help create a huge impact. Lennertz said it best: “I truly hope this new campaign becomes a new annual tradition!”
We’d love to know, why do you #LoveYourBookstore?