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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Power of Shelf Talkers in Stores and @ Your Library

For years, independent book stores have helped move books by creating shelf talkers.  These are the little tags you see hanging from shelves, which, in 50 words or less, sell the book to you, the customer.  This practice got so popular that it is now done on a national scale by the members of Indie Bound, both in stores and on the web.

A week ago, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) ran this article in their publication "Book Selling This Week" about the art of writing shelf talkers. This is a great article explaining what shelf talkers are, how they help move product, how to display them, and how to best write them.

"Okay," you are saying, "this is very interesting, Becky, but don't you write about libraries?"  Yes I do, but our current RA manager Kathy comes with an independent book store background and has had us all incorporate shelf talkers in to our work.  In fact, shelf talkers were the inspiration for and are featured prominently in our Browsers' Corner (available in person and on the web).  Take a peak. We have pictures of the actual shelf with some feautred "talkers" and a blog with everything whether the book is in the physical corner at the moment or not. (New titles added all of the time)

The talkers we write are a combination of staff recommendations and good RA practice. Basically, we are trying to find back list titles which we enjoyed and could see suggesting to a fairly wide audience. Also, we are trying to hit all of the genres so as not to leave out any patrons. Our goal is not to spend too much time on plot, which they can get from the book jacket, but rather focus on the appeal-- the adjectives that describe the feel of the book. (For those of you new to the blog and my rants about appeal, click here).

The point to this post...read the ABA article and check out our library tweaked version of the shelf talker. Both have have the same result--the books are flying off the shelves! Then, why not try describing some of you favorite books in 50 words or less, but just promise me you'll focus on the adjectives and not the plot description.

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