In recent years, a growing number of independent booksellers have begun using their curatorial expertise to differentiate not just their in-store children’s offerings, but to create book subscription clubs to get high-quality age-appropriate books into children’s hands by mail. Booksellers accustomed to face-to-face interactions with customers put the same emphasis on connecting books with children in the clubs. “It’s as if you had walked into the store and we were hand-selling to you,” says Heidi Powell, former manager of the children and teens department at Politics & Prose, in Washington, D.C.
Though book-subscription clubs with personalized recommendations are, as Powell notes, akin to hand-selling, all of the booksellers surveyed said that both online and in-store promotions are essential to inform potential members about the service. The emphasis is on social media, but stores also provide information on their websites, promote the clubs in store newsletters, and advertise them in-store with strategically placed flyers and postcards.
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