Week 15 Prompt

In doing all of the readings this week, I started to think about what kinds of marketing I actually paid attention to when I visit a store or the library. Personally, I'm a big fan of recommendations I can take with me, like bookmarks or annotated book lists, but I also like a themed display.

I think one of my favorite ways to market books would be displays. They can be quick and easy to set up--so if you're short on time, you can do something informal, or if you have the time, you can take it much more in depth. I loved Joyce Saricks' Books You May Have Missed cart, because so much attention is paid to new releases and the backlist books seem to get forgotten. Featuring books that may have fallen by the wayside is a great way to expand reader's horizons, too. I love a lot about how Barnes & Noble makes use of all their space with endcaps, but their book selection is the worst. Because of the corporate sway (publishers often pay for their placement on promos), the same books seem always to be on the promos, effectively wasting a lot of the endcap's power.

In-Section Features
Something I've wanted to do at my job, and something I'm not even sure if libraries do, is feature books within their sections as staff picks or as books that have especially good reviews. This way, those who are casually browsing can stumble across recommendations, even without stopping to look at a full display or grabbing a bookmark or booklist. This could be done with a book on an easel, placed in an empty space somewhere, or--how I'd do it at work--using a shelftalker (that's what we call them at B&N at least, a piece of plastic that slips under the books and has a faced forward area for a slip of paper with a short write-up to go), so it 's truly within the section the patron is browsing, and they can read a little bit about the book and why it's recommended.

If You Like, Try...
It's not even remotely original, but so often I'm asked for books similar to one book or an author, yet sometimes a patron may not have the time or may not want to go into a whole conversation and/or true reader's advisory interaction. However, the value of handpicked recommendations is invaluable, and can easily be duplicated from work already done. I love Goodreads myself and often go there for recommendations, but the books recommended are often based on one factor, such as genre, and while maybe that works at times, a fully thought through recommendation is going to be superior to one based on an algorithm.


  1. Hi! I think you have some great ideas. My library does do recommended reads from staff but it was mainly in the children's department. I like your idea of using the shelftalker. I think that would be a great way to catch their eye, especially if you could use colored paper to help it stand out. Great job!

    1. We use the shelftalkers for other things at work, but not often for staff recommendations--except in their own spot in the front of the store. I like the idea of people finding them scattered throughout their favorite section, though!

  2. I like your idea of having a display of staff recommendations. I think that way the patrons can get to know the librarians a little bit better and get to see them as readers as well.


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