Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Literati reflects on their first few weeks

On their website, Literati Bookstore, has a new blog post about their opening weeks. Sounds like things are going pretty well, which really makes me happy. From the blog:
Our opening week, we were planning on doing it very softly. However, the Ann Arbor community was so supportive, as soon as we opened our doors, people were buying books. This is a good thing. Though we have had some hiccups (like running out of receipt paper on Day #1 or thinking we had lost all our sales when really we just weren’t pressing a computer button) so far, so good. We’ve learned a lot so far, both about ourselves, our business, and what Ann Arbor is buying. Thank you to everyone who has had the patience with us as we’ve stammered and stuttered our way through getting our computers up and our special order system (which we are still smoothing out). Here are some other things we’ve learned so far:

-Customers themselves are each others’ salespeople. We were thinking that we would have to do a lot more individual hand-selling to customers than we’ve done. While we get many customers asking for recommendations — which we LOVE — many more people simply browse with a companion and pick up books and say, “Oh have you read this? It’s the best. You have to get it.” And they buy it. That peer-to-peer book interaction, so frequently overheard here, is part of what is lost when you buy online. By far this has been the biggest surprise, just listening to people excitedly talk about books.

-On a similar note, the basement is perfect for couples’ browsing. Many people we’ve noticed just grab a drink at Arbor Brewing or Grizzly Peak or Amadeus, head over to the bookshop, and just wander. Sometimes there are more people in the basement than upstairs, which is something we never expected. We’re planning on putting a few chairs outside so people can just read on the sidewalk. No fuss, no hassle, just a place to sit and read.

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