3 February 09 | Chad W. Post

In a post picking up on the whole “future of book reviewing” discussion, Kassia Krozser brings up a point that’s crossed my mind at times:

Booksellers Should Hand-Sell on the Internet: One of the great things about new technology is that it opens up the conversation in multiple direction. [. . .]

I admit that I was surprised to discover that booksellers aren’t blogging like crazy . . . and that they’re not embracing like-minded bloggers. [. . .]

I also hope that more of you see incorporating a blog into your website as a way to move the shelf-talker concept online. You cannot always be on the floor, hand-selling books to customers. You use a combination of in-store techniques to draw attention to books. One thing that continues to astound me is how many bookstores (and publishers!) avoid offering personal connections with books on their website. Reviews, staff recommendations, customer comments about titles . . . all of this brings your customer base closer to you.

This is something that’s always surprised me. All the bookstores I worked at published newsletters (usually print and electronic) and valued this special connection with the customers. But that was back in the dark pre-blog ages when you had to debate the merits of a HTML newsletter vs. a plain-text one.

But now . . . with a few simple keystrokes and blogspot stores can offer customers a running stream of recommendations, info about events, news about recently released books, etc., etc. Handselling via conversations with other readers is one of the best aspects of independent bookstores, and in this Facebook/Twitter age in which everyone’s always able to share every thought with everyone else, it only makes sense for booksellers to use this technology to share their expertise, interests, etc.

I know that there are some really good bookstore blogs/bloggers, like Karl Pohrt from Shaman Drum, Kelly Amabile at Book Culture, Monica Carter at Skylight, Jessica Stockton Bagnulo at McNally Jackson, and of course, Jeff Waxman at Seminary Co-op (although Front Table is much more than just a blog).

I’m sure I’m missing some . . . and that a lot of stores are on Facebook that I’m not aware of. If you want to pimp your store’s site, please post it in the comments. I’ll be sure to add all of these to the links section and will highlight the best of the best in future posts . . .

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