Archive for July, 2011
Here is a really fabulous article by Dulwich Bookshop, which ran in BookBrunch. Says it all really!
For the first time, Dulwich Books took part in Independent Booksellers Week, and with pleasing results. Dave Faulds reports
Following our refurbishment back in February, Independent Booksellers Week came along as the perfect opportunity to launch our new image and events programme. Having never taken part in IBW before, we were about to find it quite a learning experience. As opposed to taking a back-seat approach, we decided truly to get into the spirit of IBW, and so organised 13 events across the eight days, the plan being to have something happening every day. We marketed the week’s events heavily in the local area, contacting people and societies we hadn’t dealt with in the past. We used the occasion to forge new links with local press and with online communities. It was fantastic to see the support we received from local press and other local businesses.
When organising our evening events we opted for a mixture of genres, partly to test the waters but mostly to offer a variation tailored to our local market. Our final line-up boasted names such as Edmund de Waal, Stella Duffy, Helen Babbs, Jennie Rooney and Sarah Gristwood. It was this mixture that in the end made our programme of events work, mixing fiction with history and biography. One thing that was important to us throughout was to keep the shop as the focal point. To that end, we kept all of the events in-store with the exception of Helen Babbs’ gardening talk, which we moved to neighbouring Alleyn Park Garden Centre. Although this reduced the capacity for each event, it resulted in some brilliant intimate events especially, with de Waal, who had the audience hanging on his every word as he handed around a prised Netsuke, and Stella Duffy, who kept everyone entertained with jokes and readings.
In addition to our evening events, we invited in two local cookery authors to come along to share samples and recipes – much to the delight of customers, who were taken by surprise at being offered truffles and chocolate cake as they browsed our shelves.
Our Saturday events were dedicated to children’s activities. For the first we set up an area for children to come along and create their own Father’s Day cards. The event ran all day, much to the delight of accompanying parents, who got the chance to browse in peace while their little ones made a mess with glitter and glue. On the second Saturday we invited children’s authors Sarwat Chadda and Sorrel Anderson for readings and signings in the morning. Come afternoon, we set up a doodle activity table courtesy of Michael O’ Mara publishing. We wanted to get the local schools involved in IBW as well, so we invited a class of pupils from local Dulwich College Prep School to come into the shop and hear Graham Marks talk about his writing and answer their questions.
A major part of independent bookselling is building relationships with your local authors. With this in mind, we dedicated our Sunday events to exactly that. Taking what would usually be several lunchtime events, we invited every local author on our database to appear in a run of back-to-back signings.
For us, IBW was a great opportunity and one we got a great deal out of, especially in the form of support from the Booksellers Association. It was wonderful to be part of a scheme that supported independents and had them all working collectively for the same purpose. The week offered independents exposure on a national level that is usually dominated by the major chains and supermarkets; it also gave shops such as ours the opportunity to try to reinforce themselves as important parts of their communities.
Now that IBW is over, you might want to looks at Independent’s Day for Monday. It’s got the same messages as IBW and IndieBound, and is about encouraging customers to shop in independent shops on 4th July (and thereafter…). Mary Portas is associated with the campaign, as you will no doubt have seen from the press – and despite the timing not being brilliant for IBW booksellers this year, coming hot on the heels of the Week, we nonetheless thought you would like to see and use their materials – after all, repeating a message never does any harm, especially when it’s such a good one!
There are posters and logos and web buttons for retailers to use:
Thanks so much for all your pictures – it is glorious to see them all coming in, and the round up in the Bookseller. Let’s build on all this awesome activity for 2012!