Home Bookselling Bookstore sells Hanukkah books and Advent calendars to boost holiday sales

Bookstore sells Hanukkah books and Advent calendars to boost holiday sales


This holiday season, Chicago’s Madison Street Books will be bringing their own twist to holiday book sales with Hanukkah Book Calendars and Advent Book Calendars. For Hanukkah, recipients can receive eight books wrapped with gift cards, and for the Advent calendar, up to 24 books, selected by store employees. The gift book calendars program started last year and was designed by the store’s former marketing manager.

The independent bookstore launched the program last year; Owner Mary Collopy Mollman called it “the highlight of our holiday season”, noting that the staff “all like to come together to pick the right books for the calendars.”

The giveaway idea is similar to their Bespoke Books offering, a bespoke book subscription service. As to how booksellers select titles for these holiday book promotions, Mollman said, “We ask anyone who chooses a holiday book calendar to complete an online form regarding their recipient. We take age and reading preference / level information as well as budget information and create book calendars from there.

Mollman said the Hanukkah and Advent book calendars were popular last year, with some people giving them as gifts, some giving them to themselves and others distributing the recipients of the book among various members of the family. They have had several loyal customers so far this year. A client shares a calendar among his three children, who each read very different types of books, of which Mollman said: “It gives very specific instructions and a list of what each child has recently read. It’s a super fun challenge for us, and also incredibly rewarding to contribute to a child’s reading life.

Madison Street Books opened on March 14, 2020, two days before it was due to close due to the COVID-19 lockdown. So when they started the Book Calendars last year, they had no other goal than “trying to get attention wherever we could.” This year, Mollman is encouraged to have grown her client base and wants to continue serving book buyers to the best of her ability. “One of the best parts of being a bookseller is knowing the reading tastes of your customers and connecting them to something they’ll hopefully like,” she said. “Obviously selling the calendars is important to the store and our ability to stay open, which has been tenuous this year, but mostly we hope to sell them because we like to think about the recipients and create a calendar that they will appreciate. “

Like many retail businesses, the specter of the supply chain and shipping delays has plagued Madison Street Books. Mollman said supply chain issues are “everyone’s big concern right now.” Questions such as whether they have enough books, and enough good books, are paramount. Of the problem, Mollman said, “There are always a few sleepers that no one, even the editors, predicts will be fat. Once these books are known, will we be able to get them? Right now our limited storage space is full of lots and lots of books. We keep our fingers crossed that we don’t miss out on this crucial title… and so we can’t win more. She praised her customers’ ‘generosity of spirit’ at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and said of this year’s holiday shopping season that they were counting on their generosity. continues and “our booksellers’ abilities to delve into solid backlist titles to complement people.” shopping lists.

Like other independent bookstores, Mollman urges customers to buy early “because your local stores are doing their best to provide whatever you’re looking for and this year in particular it’s not easy.” To further encourage early shopping, the store hosted a monthly ‘Breakfast and Books’ event, opening at eight in the morning, two hours earlier than usual, and serving coffee, tea and pastries, which ‘they may offer more frequently in December, as well as a bachelorette party. The next Breakfast and Books will take place on Tuesday, November 30.

As for specific titles that are expected to sell well with holiday book buyers, Mollman said the novels The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, crossroads by Jonathan Franzen and Beautiful people, where are you by Sally Rooney have been popular so far. She expects 2021 titles renegades by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen and Words by Paul McCartney to Success With Gift Givers also.

Additionally, Madison Street Books showcases smaller presses such as Milkweed Editions, Haymarket Books, Restless Press, and Two Lines Press, among others, online and in their physical store. Of this initiative, Mollman said: “I have always liked this more obscure title, often that of a translated work. We have the forum to present them, so we do. Three times a year, the store offers eight titles by each of the six small presses, said titles being on the top shelf of the fiction wall of their physical location and noted with their press and location. They also started putting extra copies all together on lower shelves, which Mollman said boosted sales. The store also hosts a monthly Not Your Big 5 Book Club “to showcase some of the little press offerings that sometimes get overlooked.”