Dominic Myers has called on the book industry to collaborate in creating more nationwide events like World Book Night in order to enhance the dialogue around books. The Waterstone's m.d told the Book Industry Conference forum yesterday (17th May) that book sales were increasingly being driven by events and appealed to different sectors of the industry to draw on their individual strengths to make those big events happen.
He said: "We are all in it together. We need to co-operate in establishing a larger number of consumer-focused events using the equity we have in people like authors." He also repeated calls made earlier in the conference for booksellers to be kept informed of the media coverage on books so they can be prepared with extra stock.
Myers flagged up the 2012 London Olympics as a retail opportunity not to be missed, particularly in selling sports books. In an age of "instant news" he added that having the capacity to respond quickly to breaking stories with potential links to books was also increasingly imperative. He said: "In my first week at Waterstone's, Salinger died and I was told it would take two weeks to get his books into our shops. Now we get in memoriam books into the shop by the afternoon."
More "joined up thinking" also had to be created around Super Thursday, he said, and asked if the industry should be considering launching a big event in November to get "pre-Christmas sales moving."
One forum member said the industry should consider a promotion around the book chart Christmas "number one" on the same scale as the Christmas music chart number one, which received a positive reception from the panel, which also included World Book Night c.e.o Julia Kingsford and South Asian Literature Festival director Jon Slack. Kingsford called on the industry to encourage more people to give books as gifts, including people within the trade and Slack highlighted the celebrations associated with the South Asian culture such as Diwali as valuable opportunities to promote books.