We were delighted to see Tauranga's long-serving independent bookshop, Books A Plenty, win $1000 off their next Nielsen Book Scan subscription thanks to the love letter their customer Marcus Hobson wrote them. We thought we'd have a chat with owners Chris and Warren Baskett off the back of this and see what they love about bookselling, and what it is they do that's different.
Chris Lumsden tells us what is going up and coming down at his Paper Plus shop in Wanaka.
What type of store are you? We are a small provincial town store that enjoys a lot of tourist trade as well as an active reading local population. We are in downtown Wanaka with a central corner site on the first block back from the lake.
What are your top five books this month?
The best sellers this month cut across all genres and for different reasons.
The bestseller is a new release children’s book from award winning author Lucy Davey, The Mystery Box and Finnigan Flynn. This was launched at our local library on Saturday complete with a puppet show put on by Lucy’s family. If you look closely at the photo below as the Mystery Box is opened in the Puppet performance, you can see the bubbles coming out of the box. ISBN 9781775432999
Disclaimer,by Renee Knight has been our pick for summer and is still selling very strong. This book is by a first time author, and was released in trade paperback last Mothers Day. We stumbled across it during the year. The staff loved it so much, with the release into paperback format we made a window display that has sustained sales for over 2 months. A bit of handselling has resulted in many happy customers stopping me in the street thanking us for a great recommendation. It’s a bit of a family drama come thriller with a twist you don’t see coming. Definitely worth reading. ISBN 9781784160227
I Quit Sugar Simplicious, by Sarah Wilson shows that even in a small town the big messages and mass market still gets through. ISBN 9781743534397
The Revenant, by Michael Punke again supports the theory that the book is always better than the movie and there are plenty of people willing to buy a book and validate that claim. ISBN 9780008124021
Then we get to the real mass market media machine when the publisher decides to push someone new. Orphan X, by Gregg Hurwitz, a cross between Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher. It seems there are still plenty of people looking for a bit of escapism when they pick up a book. ISBN 9781405910712
Tell us what is ‘working’ for you in terms of promotion this month? Promotions that work for us are generally driven by window displays and this is clearly the case with our top two bestselling titles. We have a double display window facing a very busy coffee shop across the road. Both books are in the window, driving sales.
And what do you think is on the way out? When thinking about what is on the way out in terms of promoting books to generate sales, believe it or not, I firmly believe discounting is not the be all and end all to driving foot traffic and closing a sale. We are part of the national Paper Plus group and every month there are new releases at discount prices. Sure that’s a trigger for some people to open their wallets, but we have years of evidence of sales increasing after the discount promotion has ended. Perhaps the discount gets the books into a few hands and then the word of mouth takes over and customers come looking for the next great read.