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Book Fair Blog

Every book has a story

Every book has a story.

Check in frequently to read the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Newberry’s popular Book Fair. The blog is maintained by “Uncle Blogsy,” otherwise known as Dan Crawford, Book Fair Manager.

By Hook Or By Crook

This is a great country: you have to admit it. Americans have that drive, that hunger, which makes them excel. They have high expectations; they have high hopes. And they all know how to sell books better than I do.
“If you just put high enough prices on everything, you’ll make a lot of money,” one person tells me. “If you’d just put low enough prices on everything, you’d sell a lot more books,” says another. Somehow, I always feel as if my unpaid advisors are missing a few important points about what we’re doing here. These are a few of the most noticeable plans I have been offered.
“Just Wait Until They Reach Check-Out and Tell Them Prices are Double What’s Marked” I had one volunteer who suggested this every single year. He was one of those chaps who felt I wasn’t charging enough for books, and wanted to take this simple path out of the Slough of Discount I had led the Book Fair into. I murmured things about false pricing, the old bait-and-switch, and he would always grunt something about my general lack of responsibility to my employers. We never did reach an understanding.
“Offer a Discount if They Buy the Books You’re Overstocked On” This person was especially offended by The DaVinci Code, and suggested that we could clean out all our excess copies of the Dan Brown classic by offering a ten percent discount on the entire purchase of those people who added a copy to their bags. “Let me see,” I said. “If they buy a two dollar book and get it out of our way, you’re willing to give a discount which could run into hundreds of dollars?”
“Yes!” he said, delighted that I’d caught on so quickly. He never did understand why he never saw this sign at the Book Fair.
“Have a Bag Sale” We used to have a bag sale. Starting at, oh, one o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, everything you could cram into a shopping bag cost $5. One bagful of books, that is, for $5, two bagsful for $10. People who want to see the shelves and tables absolutely clean at the end of the Book Fair adore this notion.
The problem is that even after the bag sale, we didn’t have empty tables. And the sales we made at $5 per bag were not making us a great deal of money. We decided to try a half price day instead, receipts went up, and the rest is history. People who used to get bags and bags of books for the price of used dirt still miss the bag sale, though.
“Hold a Free Book Day After the Half Price Day” No, there are really people who suggest this. When I ask why anybody would buy anything on Half Price Day if all the books are free the next day, they call me a negative thinker. “People wouldn’t really be like that,” I am told. What species of people do YOU hang out with?
“Hide a Special Coupon for Free Books in Special Books” First of all, salmon toffee crunch, I wish you’d understand that I am not here to undercut my own prices. Second, I don’t like to encourage people to go through the Book Fair, ripping open every book they find, in hopes of locating the coupon. (“Oh, people wouldn’t really be like that.” Third, this is a book sale, not a game arcade. (I know: negative again.)
“Don’t Let Anybody Buy Books Unless They Make a Ten Dollar Donation at the Door” I think we WILL try this one day. That’s the day when Tiffany’s charges people to come in the front door, when Neiman Marcus charges people to come in the front door, when American Girl Place….
I know: it’s going to be a shiny new front door. But I still think people should get to see it for free, and save their money to spend on books.

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