Recently, I shared a Facebook post regarding a bookstore owner’s plea for help to survive the “trying times” of “dismal” sales figures. I don’t really know if it was the wise thing to do – asking for help via Facebook – but I admire Anthony’s guts for doing it. His FB post got some 197 shares, and hopefully, did bring his bookstore more customers. I’ve actually visited his bookstore before (‘cos I love walking into bookstores and checking them out) but didn’t buy anything on my previous visits. I popped by the store yesterday during lunch hour. It was rather quiet, museum-like. And since I was there to show my support, I browsed through most of the titles, and eventually bought two books: Judy Sharp’s ‘A Double Shot of Happiness’ (S$33) and ‘Teach A Life, For Life’ by Eileen Chai (S$24).
I managed to complete reading Eileen’s book on the train ride home. LOL. Speed-reading rocks! 😀 And I also sent her a message to tell her I loved reading her book. I do think S$24 for her full-color book makes it quite a steal. And I marvel at how this GENIUS (she deserves the title) can be so good at so many things: gymnastics, springboard diving, athletics, violin, etc. (She has represented Singapore in the Southeast Asian Games!) And oh, she has a degree in Microbiology from NUS, and is now a violin teacher and performer. How did that even happen?! It would be a real treat to meet her in person and interview her. 😀 😀
The other book is about “Tim Sharp’s extraordinary journey from being diagnosed with autism to becoming an internationally renowned artist”. I’ve not read it yet, but I will soon. 🙂
Here are a couple of other books I found very interesting. Ok, they have really cool book covers. And yes, I totally judge books by their covers. Especially since they come all lovingly wrapped up in plastic at Booktique and I cannot read the contents till I’ve bought the books:
‘The Doll Scene’ has an AMAZINGLY eye-catching cover:
‘The Red Riding Hood Lah’ will amuse speakers of Singlish, for sure:
By the way, I LOVE that Boutique supports local authors. As a local author, you get your books placed in prominent position, with supporting newspaper features, etc.
I do hope Booktique survives the quiet months and that sales will pick up soon. My personal gut feel is that the space in the bookstore could be ‘maximized’ (is that the right word to use, I wonder) further. I’m not sure about this (as I didn’t actually count them all), but it seemed to me that there were probably less than 200 titles in the store when I visited yesterday. I’d probably have bought more if there was more to choose from.
One question that came to mind yesterday was what I’d do if I was running a bookstore like Booktique:
- This idea isn’t mine; I read about it online – Have a book subscription service. For a fee of e.g. S$50 a month, subscribers receive a specially curated selection of perhaps, three(?) books that Anthony picks out for them based on their preferences. I would sign up for this, seeing as how I’ve already spent S$57 on two books. And subscribers can either pick up the package at the store (free) or get it delivered (at extra charge).
- Have a membership card to encourage repeat buying. I like going back to stores like Popular, Times and Kinokuniya when I have their membership cards. So if I see a book I want to buy in another store, I’ll wait for member-only 20% off days at Kinokuniya, for instance. Yesterday’s purchase at Booktique was an out-of-the-norm one for me. 😀
- Increase the time every walk-in potential customer spends in the store. For instance, I’d have a little coffee corner with an espresso machine and some tables and chairs for customers to get a coffee (ka-ching!) and browse through some titles. My rationale is that the more time they spend in the store, the more likely they are to buy something, or to buy more. [If you spill coffee on the book, you buy it! :P]
- Figure out what the people who go to Citylink Mall actually want. This is something I’ve learnt from Andrew who manages the Red House at Upper Thomson coffeeshop. If there is a group of executives who just want a chill-out place where they can read a book in peace during their lunch hour, I’ll probably have a corner with some beanbags or recliners where they can read the books bought from my store.
Hopefully, when I next visit Citylink Mall (which may be in a few months’ time), Booktique will still be there, and will be thriving. I do encourage everyone reading this to pop by Booktique and show them some love. 🙂
I did also visit another store at Citylink Mall yesterday. It was selling handicrafts and other knick-knacks for charity. I bought these two greeting cards (at S$1 each) as they are oh-so-cute! 😀
Booktique is located at Citylink Mall #01-17A, 1 Raffles Link.