July Newsletter


There was the traditional fillip to sales in June as some customers began to stock up for the summer. We had two outstanding events in the month. One event was the Beechwood Summer Solstice Stroll. The store opened late and Antoinette did story-time readings for the kids. Beechwood was thronged with families enjoying the many sights and activities. Congratulations to the community organisers for such a successful event. The other event was the second in our “Titles at Table 40” dinner meetings with authors. The proceedings had been streamlined and everything went off smoothly. (Watch for the new series coming in September). We had two interesting speakers- Diana Beresford Kroeger and Heather Menzies. Heather topped our best-seller list for June (see the listing below). Most other books on the list were fiction except for the resurgence of Joe Clark’s book “How we lead…”

We completed the Customer Survey thanks to Jinning Yu, our marketing intern from Carleton University. She had an excellent response-over 10% of those approached, so we can have some confidence in the statistical validity of the results. Thanks to all participants for your help. It has given us a lot to think about. The random draw for a $25 gift certificate went to Elizabeth Sanford.

Two thirds of the respondents were female. 39% of the total were over 65 and 38% were between 45 and 65. 15.7% of the households had children and 12.4% had teenagers. Geographically, the major concentration was in the immediate neighbourhoods but about one-third of responders were scattered over the rest of the city.

I’ll just give a few facts from the mass of data. One third of the customers were not familiar with our website. We need to improve on that. Only 25% ever use the on-line store, most using it for book searches but many of those then use the on-line order system.

Gifts were an important element of book-buying motivations. (Maybe we could enhance that aspect of our services?). 75% of respondents buy other things than books -greeting cards being the most important, so we will certainly maintain our selection of distinctive greeting cards. Not surprisingly given our sales results, Fiction topped the list of book categories of interest, followed by Biography, History and Politics. Children’s books were vitally important for some but of no interest to others. Cooking and Travel received high ratings in importance but our sales statistics show relatively low sales in these categories relative to our inventory (except maybe at Christmas). Maybe some people look more than they buy? Book events (meet the authors, book signings) were very popular. There were quite a few suggestions about the store to consider but the majority input was that the responders very much like the store the way it is.

Staff are busy at the moment with the Ottawa “Book Fair” where they meet all the publishers and order the many new books that will be released in time for the Christmas season. It is always an exciting time for us –a preview of the holiday season in July!