Booksellers "crucial" to media promotion - BIC

Booksellers need to be treated as a crucial partner in the process of promoting books through the media or risk looking "irrelevant", the Book Industry Conference (BIC) has been told.

Waterstone's bookseller Cathy Rentzenbrink told delegates at the BIC today (16th May) it was vital retailers are informed when books will be featured in newspapers and on television programmes because customers will expect them to have the information and the title in stock.

She said: "At the very least customers expect us to know and if you don't you look irrelevant. In this industry you cannot miss a trick and we must give customers what they want when they want it. We need to lobby broadcasters and newspapers to let us know what they are featuring because we need to reach customers."

Dotti Irving from Colman Getty PR called for the BBC to renew a weekly bulletin the corporation used to send out detailing which books it would feature in the next seven days to help keep booksellers and the rest of the industry informed.

Publishers and booksellers should also work more closely together to "take risks" on promoting certain books "because together we can make things massive," Rentzenbrink said.

She also called on booksellers to have more conversations with customers, warning retailers should not underestimate the value of the bookshop experience and the consumer need for personal recommendations.

BBC Arts commissioning editor Mark Bell revealed more details about BBC2's "The Review Show"'s monthly book programme, as announced in January. The live programmes, broadcast on Friday nights, will feature artists discussing the books that have inspired them, as well interviews with leading authors and a panel of experts and book-lovers will cast their critical eye over recent releases.

Germaine Greer, Denise Mina and John Mullan will feature in the first show on 27th May to discuss the state of women's literature and topics such as the Orange Prize and posthumous publications from Daphne Du Maurier and Beryl Bainbridge.