Blogs

Shop list

Two workshops last week focused on re-imagining the flagship of London's most iconic shop—Foyles. Yet many of the ideas could be rolled out industry-wide. Here are five indies could  implement right now:

Membership
Membership advantages do not have to be great—extra discounts, early-bird tickets, free events—but it can make customers feel part of a community.

Limited Editions
Bookshop-specific bespoke editions. Work with the publisher, writer or even local designers and artists to make a physical book that the likes of Amazon cannot compete with.

Courses
Use your author, publisher and local contacts to run small classes. Don’t limit yourself to just the literary, think lifestyle, too, like cookery, fitness or self-help.

Guest curation
Have an author coming in for an event? Ask them for the books that inspired them, and build a table or display around it.

Personal shopper
Use your experience to show customers the best books they want, and the ones they never knew they wanted.

Read The Bookseller's report on the Foyles workshop.

Tom Tivnan is The Bookseller's features and supplements editor

Comments: Scroll down for the latest comments and to have your say

By posting on this website you agree to the Bookseller comments policy. Comments go direct to live please be relevant, brief and definitely not abusive. Report any "unsuitable comments by clicking the links"

The membership idea has been around for years but nobody has been able to make it work in the bookselling world as yet. A straight discount for members on every purchase would be clever and bold, rather than a points-based system.

Limited editions are a nice idea, but is it financially viable to make an exclusive edition for an indie?

Getting authors and publishers in for events and courses? Aren't the really switched-on booksellers already doing this?

And the last point amounts to basically training your staff to be knowledgeable and helpful.

One would have hoped that two days of workshops could produce slightly more radical, pioneering and commercially savvy ideas. Dare I say these sound like the same old ideas that have been chucked around for years within the industry, or just slight variations thereupon.

Thanks for your thoughts Corey T. Plenty more came out of the conference, as detailed in our feature: http://www.thebookseller.com/feature/depth-foyles-workshop.html

All of the above things that Tom has said came out of the workshop is what Goldsboro Books are in fact doing with success. We have a club that gives discounts on all purchases. We regularly have special editions and exclusive hardbacks. We host numerous events and have knowledgable staff. I would suggest that these are 'radical, pioneering' value added extras and we hope to do more 'savvy' things in the future.

Good for you David, and you didn't require two days of workshops to come up with those ideas. Which is kind of my point.

The membership idea has been around for years but nobody has been able to make it work in the bookselling world as yet. A straight discount for members on every purchase would be clever and bold, rather than a points-based system.

Limited editions are a nice idea, but is it financially viable to make an exclusive edition for an indie?

Getting authors and publishers in for events and courses? Aren't the really switched-on booksellers already doing this?

And the last point amounts to basically training your staff to be knowledgeable and helpful.

One would have hoped that two days of workshops could produce slightly more radical, pioneering and commercially savvy ideas. Dare I say these sound like the same old ideas that have been chucked around for years within the industry, or just slight variations thereupon.

Thanks for your thoughts Corey T. Plenty more came out of the conference, as detailed in our feature: http://www.thebookseller.com/feature/depth-foyles-workshop.html

All of the above things that Tom has said came out of the workshop is what Goldsboro Books are in fact doing with success. We have a club that gives discounts on all purchases. We regularly have special editions and exclusive hardbacks. We host numerous events and have knowledgable staff. I would suggest that these are 'radical, pioneering' value added extras and we hope to do more 'savvy' things in the future.

Good for you David, and you didn't require two days of workshops to come up with those ideas. Which is kind of my point.