November 27, 2012

Small Business Saturday supports booksellers across the country


Customers and store co-owner Renee Reiner (right) at Phoenix Books in Burlington, VT enjoying Small Business Saturday.

As we mentioned last week, bookstores were expected to be a big destination for Small Business Saturday last weekend, and it looks like that prediction was on the mark — even President Obama and his daughters got in on the action, visiting One More Page in Arlington, VA, as our own Claire Kelley reported.

Shelf Awareness has gathered a series of responses from bookstores describing their SBS experiences and customers’ enthusiasm in supporting local bookstores and other small businesses.

Most of the stores featured in the roundup raved about the festive atmosphere engendered by the shop-small ethos, which frankly sounds like a lot more fun than facing the terrifying Black Friday mobs. The new owner of Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA, Laurie Stephens said, “It has been like a party all day. When your customers are your friends and you’re sharing what you love, it is invigorating;” and Fireside Books in Palmer, AK, posted on Facebook, “Thinking back over the weekend, I’m struck by how happy people seemed. We were bustling — not crowded, not hurried, just active.”

Some stores offered discounts and one-day deals, like Books & Company in Oconomowoc, WI, which even invited customers worn out from the holiday weekend to come in for Sleepy Sunday specials. On the other hand, Renee Reiner, co-owner of Phoenix Books in Burlington, VT, said that the store didn’t offer special SBS discounts because they compete on value, rather than price.

Customers also expressed their enthusiasm for the opportunity to patronize local bookstores. In Lompoc, CA, Vincent and Stephanie Saucedo used the event to find a bookstore, making the Bookstore the first stop on their shopping itinerary, and in Madison, CT, Deena O’Connor praised the effort to support R.J. Julia Booksellers, “a local bookstore like this that has local authors come and … feels like a community.”

All in all, it sounds like Small Business Saturday worked out well in bringing in business to indie booksellers, and creating a convivial shopping atmosphere as well. Here’s wishing many more to come.



Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.