Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Promoting your bookstore

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

I have been running my Xavier bookstore for two years now. The monthly selling of books last month reached 34 million rupiahs or around 3,400 US dollars. For people who live in the US or European countries, it might be an average salary of office workers but for people who live in Indonesia, it is a lot of money.


During the first month of my bookstore's operation, I could only make some 500 US dollars bookselling. Now I can sell books worth of between 30 to 55 million rupiahs a month. How can I do that? The answer is promotion. I don't spend any money on newspapers' advertisement nor hiring internet experts to run an online bookstore such as Amazon.com bookstore. I only sell new books at the moment. I have got a plan to sell used books one day like what Powell bookstore does but I don't know when I can do that.

The following explanations are some of marketing or service campaigns that are aimed at increasing book sales.

Order Form - When book lovers enter my bookstore and look for books sometimes they cannot get or find them. To help them, I provide an order form list which they can use to fill in their name, mobile phone number and the titles and publishers of the books that they are looking for. I will use the list to order the books from publishers or partner bookstore in Java. This highly targeted book order has improved my bookselling to over 100% tripling my bookselling from 15 million rupiahs to 30 million rupiahs just within 3 months. When their ordered books have come, Dewi will notify them using SMS.

Book info brochures - Regularly every week I print brochures containing newly arrived books at my bookstore. I give them away to every visitor. This is one of the most effective yet cheapest promotional tools that I've ever used.

SMS info - When the newly arrived books have been put on the bookshelves, Dewi will send SMS to book lovers and people who had ordered the books using order form.

Online Catalog shopping - To serve book lovers who live in other islands or other countries, I make to Xavier bookstore website and Xavier bookstore blog. The average bookselling from the internet is around one million rupiahs.

I don't put advertisement on the newspaper or radio anymore. The above four promotional campaigns have helped me much in increasing the selling of books in my bookstore. Also read: The cleanliness and neatness of a bookstore; What book categories in my bookstore that I sell the most?; Determining the profit margin of a bookstore

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