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Michelle Cavalier, Owner, Cavalier House Books
I was terrified to go to the SIBA trade show! I opened my store in September of ’09, and it still doesn’t feel real, so I knew people were going to call me out on it. I thought that people would tell me I wasn’t a real bookseller and that I didn’t belong. Basically, that they would find me out and know my secret. I’m not a bookseller! I’m just a book lover. I don’t know anything about running a business.
And then I got there and I saw it. You are all just like me. Everyone in this business is in it because they love books. Yeah, they may be older and wiser than me and they may have some clue as to what it means to own or run a small business, but really I had nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
The day of education served to solidify this new belief. SIBA is, as the acronym allows, an alliance. The trade show was about being a book lover and learning to be a better bookseller. There were people here to help me learn the business and promotional stuff! I wanted to divide myself into several ‘mini-me’s in order to attend all of the available classes and panels, but alas there is only one of me. However, those I was able to attend were great.
First was “Get in Bed with a Book Blogger” with the bloggers from Beatrice.com (Ron Hogan) and The Book Lady’s Blog (Rebecca Joines Schinsky) as well as Kelly Justice, owner of Fountain Bookstore and SIBA president. I was so looking forward to this because I am ready to jump in bed with a blogger of my own. What should I expect of her? She of me? They answered it all and I am ready to implement their suggestions in my store and online. Then there was what I called the Malaprops’ Twitter Class. I asked several questions, but they were patient with me. I had no idea how Twitter worked really or the etiquette of it. Thanks to the Malaprops’ ladies I have been significantly more active on Twitter, but I still have a lot to learn (and a lot of first day of school awkwardness to get over).
I also attended two author panels (“True Southern: Books Steeped in the South” and “Cooking Up a Storm: Sharing recipes with readers”) as well as all of the author meals (wherein we did not eat authors, but listened to them speak). From the very first breakfast my TBR pile started growing and by Sunday evening it was taller than I am. How could I ever have been intimidated by these authors? They were all so eager to talk about their work and mine. Everyone was so approachable, and I realized – these are my people! Then the exhibits opened and I saw so many people geeking out over new books. It was so exciting and refreshing to see so many people as excited as I was about exactly the same things. Our collected passion: books!
The final coup came on Sunday morning at the “Good Ideas Breakfast.” I shared my idea of partnering with a local travel agent for literary tours, and they liked it. Everyone was so supportive. They liked my idea and counted me as one of their own. As it turns out, all of my insecurities were unfounded. I am not only a booklover, but a bookseller and business owner. So, thanks to you, my fellow SIBA members, for reminding me why I’m doing this in the first place. See you again next year.
from Jack Heape – Download his free book here – http://www.tradeshow.sibaweb.com/home/documents/doc_download/7-guide-to-google-for-bookstores
Customer Acquisition Cost
I recently spoke at the Southern Independent Booksellers (SIBA) conference. During my presentation, one of the concepts I discussed was that of “Customer Acquisition Cost“. When I questioned the audience members as to whether they knew what this cost was in their business, only one individual responded affirmatively. The rest had no idea.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a measurement of your sales and marketing strategy. Simply put, it is the cost you incur to get a new customer to patronize your business. It is not a measurement of the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, but rather an indicator of the total investment incurred to gain that customer.
Notice I said investment. Not expense. An expenditure to gain a new customer is an investment. if you are spending $20 to get a new customer, shouldn’t make every effort to hold onto that customer so that you get a return on your investment. Customers are an asset. An asset than can keep putting money into your pocket long into the future.
Here are some other examples. The Intermarket Group is an organization that conducts research about most everything having to do with the internet. Recently, they completed a study on customer acquisition cost. Some examples on the cost to sign up a new customer from the study are as follows;
- Barnes and Noble.com $42
- Amazon.com $27.60
- Priceline $32.30
- Beyond.com’s $29.30
Don’t you think that companies that are spending this kind of money to gain a new customer are interested in keeping that customer? if not, they are just wasting that money.
One of things I stress in my talks is the necessity of thinking of marketing as not just advertising, but as a tool for building customer relationships. If your business is incurring real costs in gaining a new customer, then that business needs to maintain and nurture a relationship with that customer. if they do not do so, then they are not going to recoup the expense of that investment.
As a business owner, you really need to track this cost and make sure that you are recouping it. Here are some areas that you need to measure.
Customer Acquisition Cost by marketing segment
How much money are you spending in each area of your marketing. Furthermore, what is the value of the customer that you are obtaining from that segment? If you are spending $300 a month on the Yellow Pages, but only getting 10 customers a month from it who only spend $15 on a book, are you getting your money back? Maybe, if they are continual repeat customers. Unless you track this you will not know if this expenditure is paying off for you.
The cost of gaining new customers should go down over time. The decrease would primarily have to do with increased sales volume, and the increased brand awareness that every dollar expended promoting your business should bring. If the trend is not downward, then your business is not allocating its marketing budget properly and some changes need to be made.
Some areas of your marketing do not necessarily require an ongoing expenditure. For example, your website is basically a one time expenditure. is it gaining customers? Are they valuable customers? if the answer to those questions is a No, then a website makeover might be necessary. A simple change can bring big benefits if done properly. Same thing with discount coupons. or promotional giveaways.
Long Term Value of a Customer
Keep track of where that customer came from and how much he/she spends. If you find that some customers are generating continued revenuw over the course of time, then determine which marketing channel you acquired them from and concentrate your marketing expenditures in that area.
Knowing your Customer Acquisition Cost is a necessity for a profitable business. Only if you know what a new customer costs you, can you determine if you are getting a return on your investment in the acquisition of that customer. One of the big advantages of the internet as a marketing medium, is that it can be easily tracked. You know if you are getting results. And results (profit), and return on investment, is what business is all about.
October is National Reading Group Month —
Celebrating the joy of shared reading
NEW YORK — September 13, 2010 — To celebrate the joy of shared reading and to encourage more people to get involved with reading groups, the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) has designated October as National Reading Group Month (NRGM). October 2010 is the fourth annual celebration with 1000s of avid readers taking part in activities through traditional and online book clubs and at neighborhood bookstores and local libraries.
“WNBA proudly endorses this national celebration of reading groups at a time when there is much talk about the ‘decline of the book’ and ‘reading at risk,’” says WNBA National president Mary Grey James. She continues, “The WNBA mission is to promote the value of books and reading and to bring together women and men active in the ‘community of the book.’ National Reading Group Month is a perfect platform for book clubs (individual members and groups) to gather at their local bookstores and libraries to pick their future reading lists and celebrate the congeniality which naturally springs from the reading group experience.”
National Reading Group Month events hosted by the nine WNBA chapters — Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. — springboard programs throughout the country during the month of October.
The highly anticipated National Reading Group Month Signature Event to be held in Nashville at the Nashville Public Library Downtown on Saturday, October 9 (breakfast, 9–11 a.m.; book-signing, 11–11:30 a.m.) highlights popular authors Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been, Delacorte), Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Wm Morrow), Sena Jeter Naslund (Adam & Eve, Wm Morrow), Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Random House), and Lee Smith (Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger, Algonquin Books). In a return engagement, Nashville Public Radio WPLN All Things Considered host Nina Cardona will emcee the panel-program. The “breakfast with authors” is an official part of the Southern Festival of Books. The event is co-sponsored by the Nashville Public Library and Davis-Kidd Nashville.
A full roster of WNBA chapter National Reading Group Month events is listed below. NRGM program information from partner NJ Library Association and its NRGM Task Force is also included. Updates will be posted to the WNBA National (www.wnba-books.org) and local-chapter Web sites, as well as NationalReadingGroupMonth.org and primary social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter (WNBA_National, WNBA_NRGM).
Official 2010 National Reading Group Month Sponsors include HarperCollins Publishers and its imprints Avon A, Harper Paperbacks, and Harper Perennial, Hyperion/Voice, Simon & Schuster, and Unbridled Books. NRGM has special partnerships with Book Group Buzz—A Booklist Blog, Reading Group Choices, and Reading Group Guides, as well as with the American Booksellers Association IndieBound program (“White Box” mailing).
Those publishers, companies, or individuals interested in becoming sponsors of National Reading Group Month 2011 should contact Jill A. Tardiff, National Reading Group Month chair at (201) 656-7220, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit National Reading Group Month www.NationalReadingGroupMonth.org,
For more information about individual events, contact the event coordinators listed.
WNBA-Boston at Hotel 140 (Thurs., Oct. 14; 6–9 p.m.): Edith Pearlman (How to Fall: Stories, Sarabande Books), with Suzanne Berne (Missing Lucile: The Story of My Father’s Mother, Algonquin Books); Michelle Hoover (The Quickening, Other Press); Joseph Monninger (*Eternal on the Water, Gallery Books); Ilie Ruby (The Language of Trees/Avon A). Contact: Lisa Braxton, email@example.com.
WNBA-Charlotte at Santé with “bibliofest” co-sponsor Park Road Books (Mon., Oct. 11; 6:30–9 p.m.): Minrose Gwin (*The Queen of Palmrya, Harper Perennial); Rick Rothacker (Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte’s Big Banks, John F. Blair, Publisher); Kim Wright (Love in Mid Air, Grand Central Publishing); Jay Varner (Nothing Left to Burn, Algonquin Books). Contact: Quinlan Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WNBA-Detroit with event co-sponsor Baldwin Public Library-Birmingham (Sat., Oct. 16; 1–4 p.m.): Katrina Kittle (*The Blessings of the Animals, Harper Perennial); Kristina Riggle (The Life You’ve Imagined, Avon A). Contact: Annette Haley, email@example.com.
WNBA-LA at the Beverly Hilton–Wilshire with event co-sponsor Book Soup (Sat., Oct. 16, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.): Alan Brennert (Honolulu, Griffin); Marjorie Hart (Summer at Tiffany, Avon A); Tatjana Soli (*The Lotus Eaters, St. Martin’s Press). Contact: Michelle Gilstrap, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WNBA-Nashville with “breakfast with authors” co-sponsors Nashville Public Library Downtown and Davis-Kidd Nashville in conjunction with the Southern Festival of Books (Sat., Oct. 9; breakfast, 9–11 a.m.; book-signing, 11–11:30 a.m.): Nina Cardona (Nashville NPR host/reporter), with Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been, Delacorte Press); Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Wm Morrow); Sena Jeter Naslund (Adam & Eve, Wm Morrow); Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Random House); Lee Smith (Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger, Algonquin Books). Contact: Lee Fairbend, email@example.com.
New York City
WNBA-NYC with event co-sponsor Greenlight Bookstore (Tues., Oct. 19; 6:30–9 p.m.): Rosalind Reisner (Read On … Life Stories and Jewish American Literature, Libraries Unlimited), with Susan Henderson (*Up from the Blue, Harper Paperbacks); Sheri Holman (The Dress Lodger, Grove Press); Rick Moody (The Four Fingers of Death, Little, Brown); Emily St. John Mandel (The Singer’s Gun, Unbridled Books); Jackson Taylor (The Blue Orchard, Touchstone). Contact: Lori O’Dea, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WNBA-SF with “literary luncheon” co-sponsor Book Passage/Corte Madera (Thurs., Oct. 14; 12–2 p.m.): Joyce Maynard (The Good Daughters, Wm Morrow). Contact Lynn Henriksen, email@example.com.
WNBA-Seattle with event co-sponsor ParkPlace Books (Tues., Oct. 26; 6:30–9 p.m.): Nancy Pearl (Book Lust, More Book Lust, Book Crush and Book Lust to Go, Sasquatch Books), with Dave Boling (Guernica, Bloomsbury USA); Carol Cassella (Healer, S&S); Robert Dugoni (Bodily Harm, Touchstone); Jim Lynch (Border Songs, Vintage Contemporaries); Boyd Morrison (The Ark, Touchstone). Contact: Catherine Rustagi, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Mary Harris, email@example.com.
WNBA-Washington, D.C. at Busboys & Poets Café (Mon., Oct. 25; 6:30–8:30 p.m.): Shireen Dodson (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, Revised Edition, Harper Paperbacks), with Joyce Hinnefeld (Stranger Here Below, Unbridled Books); Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Wench, Amistad). Contact: Emily Sachs, firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Great Group Reads 2010 Selections
Library & Other Events
New Jersey Library Association (http://www.njla.org) National Reading Group Month (NRGM) partner NJLA/NRGM Task Force and New Jersey State Library (NJSL) presents “I’d Rather Be Reading: In Celebration of Reading Groups,” at the Piscataway Public Library-John F. Kennedy Library (Wed., Oct. 13; 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m.): Keynote speakers, Esther Bushell (coordinator, Community Reads) and Carol Fitzgerald (president, Book Report Network); Jennifer Hart (v-p associate publisher, Harper Perennial /Avon A /Harper Paperbacks); Barbara Hoffert (prepub alert editor, Library Journal); Rosalind Reisner (coordinator, NRGM Great Group Reads); Talia Sherer (library marketing manager/adult, Macmillan); Elizabeth Burns (NJSL); Sharon Rawlins (youth-services consultant, NJSL); April Judge (director, West Caldwell Public Library); Doug Baldwin (systems administrator, Cranbury Public Library); David Lisa (urban/adult services specialist, NJSL); Barbara Hauck-Mah (librarian, Rockaway Township Library).
The Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization. WNBA is national in its scope and is comprised of women and men who work with and value books. WNBA promotes reading and supports the role of women in the community of the book. For more information about the Women’s National Book Association go to: www.wnba-books.org.
Women’s National Book Association, P.O. Box 237, FDR Station, New York, NY
10150-0231; (212) 208-4629
Press release prepared on September 13, 2010,
by Jill A. Tardiff, National Reading Group Month Chair
Phone: (201) 656-7220
I picked up a great magazine at my local grocery store yesterday and am so enamored of it. It is called ReadyMade and they appear to be doing a great job of connecting the content from print to online. So much of what I saw and read was enlightening as to how to combine the new options with the old but I was most drawn to the Required Reading article right up front on page 10. This is a brilliant idea, that with free online tools, can be easily replicated, packaged, and sold by indie bookstores in the south.
Basically, the idea is this: Bookseller as bibliotherapist — all of us are looking out for ways to improve our lives, whether spiritually, emotionally, or physically and we readers intersect with stories and books that inspire or entertain or educate us. So booksellers write book prescriptions – the right read for what ails you.
I love this book. It is a delightful read and inspired me to walk in my backyard in my barefeet. I love the way this book looks. It appeals to all of my senses. I love the pages and their trim. The blue bird and the map. And then the content actually delivers.
The book presents as a series of essays about practices. And though it brings all of the peace I have wanted from my many religions practices, it brings none of the nonsense that has always gotten in my way. The Practice of Wearing Skin and The Practice of Carrying Water were among my favorites. This is a book I will visit again and again and share with many. I’m so proud to have it appear on SIBA’s Circle of Sites.
Customers that love Julia Cameron or Kathleen Norris will love this book.
The internet is amazing. There is a flood in Nashville on May 2. Today is May 5th and the move to help is on. A group of writers have joined forces to create Do the Write Thing for Nashville. This includes the website, a Facebook Fan Page, and an outreach effort by a collective of authors who want to help their neighbors. Writers Amanda Morgan, Victoria Schwab, and Myra McEntire are assembling an auction to raise money for the victims of devastating floods in Nashville. They are currently seeking donations from the industry for the auction, and all the funds will go to the Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund. SIBA will send a selected collection of books, and invites all of her members to support this effort if only through becoming a fan of their facebook page, and /or tweeting about the effort. Thanks to these good folks for doing the write thing!