Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book Club Exchange - Sam of Aaron's Books

I am so excited to welcome Sam from Aaron's Books to Book Club Exchange, a regular feature on Booking Mama which highlights anything and everything book club-related! I discovered Aaron's Books in Lititz, PA, last summer when I went to an author reading/signing, and I instantly fell in love with the store. Besides finding my favorite new bookstore, I was also fortunate enough to become friends with the owners -- Sam and her husband Todd!

Your Indie Bookstore, Your Book Club, and You

As a bookstore owner and book club member this post is two fold… a plea of sorts to support indie bookstores, especially with your book group, and a how-to guide.

First the quick plea…indie bookstores are a part of your community, the same community in which your book club members live, work, play and read. Indie bookstores can be an integral part of your book club, if you’ll let them… and here’s how!

5 Ways to work with your local bookstore

1) Communicate! When shopping (even if not for your book club selection) let them know you are in a book club, what your upcoming reads are, what types of books you read, etc. We often have someone come in and ask for a book their club is reading, we don’t have it, they leave… had we known a book club in the area was reading a particular book, we’d have made sure to have it on the shelf… which leads to #2

2) Have the club order in bulk together from your indie. Many stores will offer book club discounts, it never hurts to ask…. Which leads to #3

3) Ask for suggestions. As your club is planning out the your calendar of readings, stop in and talk to your indie bookstore folks. We can tell you what other clubs have been reading and enjoying. Indies that belong to the ABA (American Booksellers Association) get quarterly guides to book club suggestions, with recommendations from indie booksellers… pick up a few, share them with your book club …. Which leads to #4

4) You love your local indie, and we love you… but have you told the rest of your book club about us? Maybe they don’t know that there is an indie bookstore less than a mile from where they work… maybe they don’t know we have a website they can order books from in the comfort of their home… maybe they don’t know about the 5 author events we have next month… helping spread the word about your indie to your club can only strengthen us….. which leads to #5 (sort of)

5) Get involved with your indie… did your club just read a book by a semi-local author? Let your indie know, maybe they can bring that author in. Is your club looking for a place to meet? Ask your indie… many of us would welcome a book club with open arms…. Help your indie start a new book club, talk to your indie about creating displays for book clubs, write “shelf talkers” for your indie…. We value customer input and help… we love to work with groups not just for them… at a n indie bookstore is really is about building a community of readers and NOT just selling a book for profit.

Happy reading!


Sam Droke-Dickinson is Co-Owner of Aaron’s Books with her husband and 7 year old son. She’s been a bookstore owner for 5 years, but in her prior life she was a middle school teacher and arts administrator. Her love of reading started early on cross-country road trips where they’d have to pull off the highway to find a bookstore each day to replenish Sam’s reading stack. Aaron’s Books hosts two book clubs: Books and Brunch which reads new and popular women authors, and Crazy for Cozies which reads the “lighter” mysteries.

I am so grateful to Sam for sharing her some information about the importance of your local independent bookstores. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.


Beth F said...

What great ideas. Thanks to you and Sam for this post. I sure wish we had an indie bookstore in my area, I would be a strong supporter.

bermudaonion said...

These are great ideas. I think people forget what an asset an indie bookstore is to the community.

Sandy Nawrot said...

This was great! We have only one (count them - ONE) indie store in the Orlando area, but I'd bet they would love to be involved. I will have to stop by and talk to them about this. Thank you!

Amused said...

I completely agree with this! When I ran a bookclub for a few years we pre-ordered our books from our local indie bookstore and they gave us a discount. It worked out great for everyone!

Kaye said...

Hi Julie-
I just want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Kelly Simmons said...

Sam's store is great -- I'm visiting their book club on Jan 17th!

Kelly Simmons
author of Standing Still