Book Sales are Up and Independents are Opening

According to the American Booksellers Association, for the fifth consecutive month, retail sales at bookstores exceeded last year’s results. Preliminary figures recently released by the Bureau of the Census show an increase in bookstore sales in November 2007 of 7.5 percent compared to November 2006.

More good news is that the American Booksellers Association welcomed 115 new bookstores that opened for business in 2007. This was the third year in a row that the number of bookstore openings topped one hundred.

“We’re happy to report that 115 ABA member stores opened in 2007,” said ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz. “This is very good news and an indication of a growing trend among communities that are recognizing the unique contributions of local independent businesses. These new ABA member stores offer a one-of-a-kind environment and knowledgeable owners and staff who are dedicated to serving their neighborhoods.”

The new bookstore openings were spread across 35 states, and included a branch store of Florida’s Books & Books on Grand Cayman Island and a member store in La Paz, Mexico. The largest number of openings was in California, which welcomed 17 new stores; followed by eight openings in New York; seven each in Georgia and Oregon; six in Michigan; and five each in Colorado, Minnesota, and North Carolina.

Many of the stores are unique to just a few genres or even one. For example, Bookselling This Week explains one customer’s unique angle:

Mysterious Future Bookstore, a 2,000-square-foot science fiction and mystery bookstore in Santa Rosa, California, which opened in late April, has benefited from the support of other area bookstores, said owner Sharon Halton. “None of us can carry every book,” she explained. “So we send each other customers. Participating in a local book fair has also helped us [attract new customers].”

Read more of the article here. It also includes a list of the names/locations of the new independent bookstores that opened in 2007.

What does this mean for the author who is trying to market her book? Good news! It’s not all about Amazon.com! With Internet book tour opportunities abounding and “social networking” now being considered an internet marketing term, we are often quick to stay in our little home office and ignore the bookstores. But the relationships you form with the indpendent bookstore owners can benefit you (and your sales!) for years to come.

By investing time into helping them sell more books–yours included–you have the chance to become one of their special local guests, have multiple book signings, have them refer your book to customers personally, and have them recommend you to other bookstore owners the meet. You can build your platform and be considered an expert in your community. Which of course leads to becoming a source for reporters and editors who are doing stories on your topic.

With the buzz of the internet calling, take some time this week to check out some of the local independent bookstores and find where your book would be a good fit. With a few simple steps you can become an author that independent bookstore owners love.

Statistics are from Bookselling This Week

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Lisa and Joel Copen have a variety of experience in founding a nonprofit that receieves over 80,000 visitors per month, music and sound editing, web design, and book marketing and publishing. They look forward to your ideas to make the series of ebooks on book promotion a practical tool to help you sell more books!

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