How Can I Help You Get What You Want?
The retail business is changing faster than I can skim Twitter's trending topics. More and more, consumers understand they don't have to drive to a particular location to find what they want. Retailers are scrambling to get you to buy their products while having to straddle two generations: the generation that came to adulthood before the Internet and those that didn't. Personally, I would rather make Mr. or Ms. UPS do the driving and parking than me. I don't shop under the fluorescent lights and canned music of the chain stores unless I absolutely have to. So why is someone like me in the brick-and-mortar retail business?
In the simplest terms, I fell into it. The opportunity presented itself and I took it. However, I did it knowing the last few decades of used book buying was not going to be a sustainable business model for long. I had a few advantages in my situation. My business and home is located in a rural area and I don't have to compete with Big Bad Box Stores in my county. Secondly, my rural county has many retirees and reading paperback novels, my primary stock at this time, is part of their daily habits. Visiting Jenny's Paper & Ink Books was already a part of their routine.
However, if I am going to remain in the business of connecting readers to their stories, operating a "passive" retail store...where I leisurely read and dust and wait for you to walk in the door (ha-ha)...isn't sustainable.
So what is?
That, readers and friends, is one of my questions of 2018 after a year of building a book business under my belt.
One of the ways I am answering this question is to make Jenny's Paper & Ink a "third space". Third spaces are the places we return to again and again besides work and home to find where we belong. Bookstores can be and are those spaces. No, I am not opening a cafe (there's a great one right across the street, though!) or yet hosting author events, but I am purposeful about the atmosphere I create for you. I do this through choosing the music that plays, offering softer lighting, personalizing recommendations, and providing inventory with you in mind.
In the meantime, I am working behind the scenes to create products that help readers get what they want. I hope to announce one of my 2018 new products very soon! Some of my work surrounds possibly introducing new books and journal supplies, with plans of how credit can be used for their purchase, offering a loyalty/rewards card, and providing a subscription service for my online customers. Stay tuned!
What I need as a sole proprietor is you. Yes, your dollars help me keep the lights on and that is no small thing. But I also greatly value your feedback about what you want. This helps me make the decisions that help me serve readers the best way.
Readers love meeting other readers because it provides us connection with one another. We can exchange ideas, share our love of beloved characters, and dissect the plots together. Yes?
So here's my question. If you are a reader of paper and ink books, what is your bookstore of choice? Why do you go there? What service do you as a reader want or need that a book business owner can provide?
Let's work together to get what you and I both want and need, shall we?
I look forward to 2018 with you.