Can the indie bookstore channel work together to create a powerful and moving Storybrand?

Host:  Jill Hendrix

Participants: Angie Grau, Alana @ Schuler, Eric Green, Marissa, Amanda Hall @ Kepler’s, Steph Opitz, Kristin Hall, Katrina Kruse, Nathan Halter @ Batch, Jamilah, Ryan Jackson, Donna Liu, Melissa DeMotte, and others


What value do we provide to customers?

  • more than just books
  • space itself
  • curation
  • discovery
  • knowledge
  • creating family traditions: storytime, 12 days of xmas, etc.
  • creating lifelong readers / value of reading in general
  • Local is the thing. Not necessarily indie anymore.

How can we be better at sharing the full value of our work with publishers and customers? Fine line between looking needy vs showing increased value.

Can we collectively change the landscape of customer expectations of how we earn revenue? Currently curation / knowledge taken for granted and provided at a discount, not at a premium.

If bookstores are to be a social mission and ask for support from their communities like other cultural institutions then this begs the question of how are we different from libraries?

-difference between borrowing and owning, especially in re to building children as lifelong readers

-library lets you taste things

-libraries no longer book centric, move to other media, social needs. Perhaps creates opportunity for community to fund bookstores as libraries no longer fill that need as well. 

-visit library for help, specific task / bookstores for enjoyment/feeling

-bookstore staff more enthusiastic

-bookstores offer a lot of intangibles just as a space. During pandemic we were one of 1st biz people rallied around even if they weren’t customers. They just didn’t want us not to be there.

-new releases, libraries have waitlists / bookstore: convenience

-bookstores provide better discovery / serendipity / face-out covers / easier to wander than libraries

-bookstores send authors to schools, help community in that way

Customer pain points really need to be identified. Hard to know. Are they really painful enough to sustain an industry?

-pain points may differ by types of stores: kids vs general indie vs used vs highly curated black-owned bookstore

-even if pain point the same, message may need to be tweaked by region to sound authentic

-need help designing an effective testing process for our pain points and marketing messages: fb expert

Possible models to look to:

-Indie hardware stores forming nationwide coops (Ace Hardware and True Value) with shared marketing messages, national spokesperson John Madden

-Resurgence of craft breweries, brewery tours, etc.

ABA Marketing

-doesn’t seem to connect for many of us

-not based on doing this deep work first

Next steps / further action / possible partners

-Jill to create monthly zoom link and put on bulletin board

-NEIBA & SIBA to investigate cost of Storybrand hosted online workshop. has good marketing materials

-Authors to help craft messaging once pain points identified

-Identify FB expert

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