Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shopping Seasons in Bookstores

“Success is when reality exceeds expectations.” –John D. Gerhart

At the signing I did before Christmas in Sarasota, I thought most of the bookstore customers appeared to be stressed, unhappy or rushed. As though on a mission, they refused to let anything distract them from their goal. According to my personal unscientific survey, the average time they spent in the store was under fifteen minutes. Many shoppers came in only to purchase gift cards. I felt like an annoying roadblock on a busy freeway as I stood near my book signing table.

This Saturday, however, there were smiling faces and people willing to stop and visit even if they had no intention of buying my book. Some of the customers that were in the store when I arrived were still there when I left two hours later. It was refreshing to see so many browsers and buyers spending quality bookstore time.

I can only assume that the time of year had everything to do with the difference in customers’ personality changes and buying habits. I thought a pre-Christmas signing was ideal. Now my thinking is that unless the book has something to do with the holidays or is by a well-known author, after holiday signings are more pleasant and more productive.

Do your shopping habits change with the seasons? Have you found a particular time of year to be better for conducting book signings?

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Linda Chierico for arranging the signing event. Also, thanks to David and the other Clearwater, Fl., Barnes and Noble employees who worked Saturday, for making me feel so welcome. I’m not sure who is responsible for the window displays but I’d like thank them as well. What a great feeling to walk by Barnes and Noble and see my event poster surrounded by copies of The Ride displayed in the front window!

I sold a few books, had a good time, and the day exceeded my expectations so I consider the event a success.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: The Ride, Barnes and Noble, book signing, Clearwater, Christmas, John Gerhart,


Christina E. Rodriguez said...

My pre-Christmas signings weren't the best, either. It was a tough holiday for a lot of folks, including myself, so I could completely understand the mood at the time.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I learned a long time ago that the weekend after Thanksgiving was the last viable time for signings before Christmas. You nailed it on the head - people are on a mission and only want to get in and get out. October & November seem to be great months, although this year the economy made those tough, too. Spring signings are good, too.

L. Diane Wolfe

Katie Hines said...

It's great to see that book signings do work; I wouldn't have known that about pre-Christmas versus post-Christmas sales. Thanks for the post!

Morgan Mandel said...

People are too rushed around the holidays to take time to make decisions. Booksignings are kind of fickle, kind of like parties. Sometimes you have a lot of fun when you least expect it.

Morgan Mandel

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Frye Boots said...

Oh Christmas! Hard times...
puzzling over the question what presents to buy and whom to present ;) But what a sweet delight you experience seeing the happy faces of ones you love!

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world