Recently, the Doylestown Bookshop provided the PWC with some interesting information about how they operate, what they offer to the writing community, and why they’re so unique compared to other book stores. Check out our Q & A with the good people from the Doylestown Bookshop.
What does the Doylestown Bookshop do to maximize an authors book launch experience?
Krisy Paredes is the full time event planner, who is also the publicity and marketing manager. We put all of those skills to use for every event we have. We host over 100 unique signings, book clubs, out of store events, and special events each year. Every author is special to us, and we work to create a personal experience so it is special for the author as well. We use every tool in our marketing arsenal to promote the events. Press releases are sent out, and the authors often will receive print media coverage, and, in some instances, Television coverage, depending on the event. We are also very active on five social media platforms with Facebook being the most effective and currently holding over 12,000 likes. We have in-store flyers and bag stuffers creating colorful monthly event calendars. We send out email newsletters in promotion of the event and will boost our facebook posts or create facebook ads to give the event an extra push. We feel that we have built those special relationships with names such as Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary and Newt & Callista Gingrich, who have come back to the store a second time because of the experience they had here during their first event. We have the privilege of calling hundreds of authors friends and receive large events from publisher driven tours based on that same high bar of results we try to achieve for everyone, no matter who they are.
What role does the bookshop play in the writing community? Why is this important to your operation there?
It is part of our mission statement to be a support and resource to the community, especially the writing community. We are so lucky to be in such a culturally rich area and have writing classes for teens, special events for self-published authors. We’re instrumental in creating The Main Street Voices Poetry Contest, which is in its second year in 2016. The awards ceremony recently took place. We had more entries this year, just over 260 from grade school to adult level writing. The Main Street Voices Poetry Contest is open to all residents of Bucks County, with monetary awards given to entries in the adult and student categories. The contest was judged by four award-winning poets, including three former Bucks County Poets Laureate; two of whom are college professors, one at Bucks County Community College and one at Delaware Valley University.
What are some current trends in book sales in your bookshop? What are the top genres and why are they hot right now?
Well, we’ve got the adult coloring book boom; I have four at my house, and I think someone is trying to tell me something☺. The Indie Next picks are very popular and often are seen on the NYT bestsellers list soon after their residency on Indie Bound. I believe that the value of the Independent bookstore is looked upon with a better understanding of how the culture of the indie store affects the market place, in a positive fashion. The highest volume of sales comes from our Staff Picks Wall. Each staff member chooses the most recent, five to seven books they have read, and they are put on display with shelf talkers and an identifying name so they know who is reading what. Our regulars love it, and our customers who are traveling always find something on the wall. We have such an eclectic group of bibliophiles which provides us with a wonderful selection of titles.
How would you describe the Doylestown Bookshop staff?
There’s one word that has been used for over fifteen years to describe us: Bibliophile. Although there are core members of the staff who have been with the bookshop for over a decade, we have so many others who have come through these doors and contributed to the store over the years. We are very fortunate to have such talented, creative, driven, well-read, and all around wonderful people work here. It’s not just a job. We are a small community unto ourselves.
What makes you different from any other bookstore?
As an Independent bookstore in a climate where bookstores are almost an endangered species, I’d say that everything about us is different. I cannot compare us to any other entity, but I can tell you that every effort invested into our community is returned tenfold, and it is with the support of independent thinkers and loyal and educated shoppers that we are able to do what we love to do. Every Indie has its own subculture within the store. From the staff to the regular customers who keep a coffee mugs here because they are here that frequently. They participate in the bookish banter and add to the colure and culture of the store.
Who are a few prominent authors who’ve signed books at your shop? What was the response of the visitors?
I mentioned Peter Yarrow and Newt & Callista Gingrich above. In 2015, we held events off-site due to the large crowds with Neil Gaiman and Judy Blume. Gretchen Rubin, Jeff Sharra, Vicrotia Kann, a few weeks ago we hosted Punk Legends NOFX and had a signing in the store with them and then sold books at the TLA in Philly at their show that same night. In October of 2016 we will be working with Anthony Bourdain, and in June we will have YouTube teen star MattyB in-store. I like to have a calendar that offers something for everyone. I am very pleased that we are doing that and look forward to bringing amazing authors & personalities to the Bucks County area.
What is something about your bookstore that some people might not expect?
People don’t expect it to be as big as it is. We are 8,000 sq. feet long. They are pleasantly surprised when they walk in and find a robust store with a large children’s room as well. We also sell hand-picked sideline items such as candles, journals, small gifts, greeting cards and stationery to complement our book displays and make this a one stop shopping destination for our customers.
Online book purchases are a reality today, as well as book apps that deliver titles directly to readers’ tablets. Why are book stores like yours so important despite the technological revolution?
There is nothing that can replace the sensory experience one has while in a bookstore. To be able to touch, smell and hold on to our books maintains their value. We do however; realize that for convenience s lot of people like reading on their devices or e readers. Kobo is a great company that works with Indie stores and we offer e books through our website that can be downloaded onto the Kobo e-reader. We also have a strong online business and are the official distributors of the Berenstain Bears book packages which we ship worldwide. We have managed to remain competitive but find that book lovers find no substitute to the actual book in theie hands.
What unique events do you have coming up for the bookshop?
In October of 2016, we will be working with Anthony Bourdain, and in June we will have YouTube teen star Matty B in-store. I like to have a calendar that offers something for everyone. I am working on booking Bobby Rydell, the teen sensation from the 60’s to appear here this summer and have The Scholastic nation reading bus tour making a top in Doylestown, Pa where we will turn the parking area behind our store into a pop-up book fair for the day.
Local author, Kerry Gans, at a Doylestown Bookshop signing