books on the radio


BC Bookseller’s Round-Up: Initiating and Adapting to Change

During the past weekend I spoke to the British Columbia Booksellers Association at their annual conference.  I was asked to speak to the group about social media, community building and engaging the digital world to get the word out.  An interesting proposition, for sure, but everything went really well.  The booksellers were really enthusiastic, asked a ton of questions and I think that everybody came away from the weekend feeling like they had learned a few things and made a few new friends.  I know that I did.

One of the ideas that I suggested to booksellers interested in learning more about blogging and other social networking opportunities is to start their digital journey by listening to and reading the people who are already really good at it.  I recommended Kassia Krozser of Booksquare and Julie Wilson of Toronto’s House of Anansi Press and Seen Reading as excellent resources for the beginner.

To my joy and delight Booksquare has published the perfect blog post to support my recommendations.  To quote…

“It is surely the rare soul in the publishing ecosystem who believes the business tomorrow will resemble the business of today. Change, being change, is messy stuff, best managed through experimentation. You can design the best process in the world, but until real people get their hands in the system, you don’t really know what will work and how. Change is iterative…

…The booksellers who remain standing — and there will be many! — will react to these losses by changing their retail mix to accommodate new customers while incorporating new sales channels, such as digital. In the physical sense, there is only so much shelf space, and booksellers will, necessarily, be more particular and more aggressive about fresh product. The sheer volume of annual releases, with new titles coming out weekly, leaves the bookseller little room for chancy purchases and backroom stock.

Inventory management will be elevated to an art form as booksellers try to balance the slower reactions of customers who rely upon word-of-mouth with those who chase the latest and greatest. Factor in the enduring popularity of catalog titles, and it’s not hard to see that booksellers will be leaner and meaner (oh, and leaner and meaner indicates that booksellers will be purchasing fewer units because, well, managing returns for credit or cash is not a cheap endeavor).”

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