March 27, 2020 •
Books: driving profitability for stationery shops

{Sponsored} For both shops with a stationery focus and custom stationers, books are becoming a strong sector of business. We spoke with three book-loving stationery sellers about how books are making business boom: Kate Stzrok of Broadway Paper in Madison, Wisconsin; Dan Collier at The Merchant in Atlanta and Dallas; and Ashley Woodman of Simply Put Paper & Gifts in Atlanta. Here’s what they had to say about how and why books work in their stores.

Increase sales.

For all three retailers, books are increasing sales and overall revenue. “I think that books drive business. They make the store look great; a better-looking store will sell more product. They’re a great way to add an extra layer to merchandising, visuals and content,” Collier said.

Show your store’s personality.

Simply Put - elemental
Elemental display at Simply Put Paper & Gift

Books are a great way to display a quirky sense of humor or a love of food. They allow shop owners to show off themes in the gift sections of their stores, delight visitors and round out displays. “People can look at calligraphy all day long, then lighten up with a sense of humor or a cookbook with amazing desserts. Books are a conversation piece. Show who you are,” Woodman said.

Increase time visitors spend in the shop and up customer engagement.

Collier calls books “a giftable item” and notes that customers at The Merchant will purchase books as a last-minute going-away gift, for baby or bridal showers, birthday parties or any other occasion. They are spending $20 to $30, and The Merchant’s employees will gift wrap them so that customers can walk out the door with an instant present.

“People aren’t necessarily coming in thinking they’ll buy a book, but they think they will get a card or gift, and they see the books, and how we merchandise them is really appealing. Also it seems a lot of shoppers are last-minute, so maybe Amazon isn’t a choice and they pick up a book,” Strzok said.

Fill space and improve merchandising.

Stationery and small gift items don’t take up much space on displays, so books are a great way to make a display look full.

Read Shop by the Merchant ATL
Read Shop by the Merchant ATL

The square edges on a stack of books adds dimension to a display and pulls people in visually. They are easy to hold in

back stock. “We have never had a problem selling a massive amount of books,” Collier said. Collier uses books to add an extra layer to merchandising. He will use a stack of books in a neat pile and use a book stand on top of the stack to have one book face out for visitors to see. It catches the eye and brings people deeper into the store.

Host book-related events.

Another way to drive traffic and keep people in the store longer is to offer book signings from local authors and readings of new children’s books. These are especially effective during the marathon that is holiday shopping. While one parent sits and relaxes with the child, the other parent can get holiday shopping done.

Present a variety of categories.

Know your clientele, and choose books that speak to you and that you know will

cover all your bases. Some categories that should be considered are: cookbooks and bar books, children’s books, comedy, gift or coffee table books, inspiration and feminism.

Strzok recently increased the number of children’s titles stocked at Broadway Paper. “What is so awesome about this is the appeal children’s books have to so many customers. People with kids, expecting kids, gifts for showers to name a few.” Strzok said.

Strzok also mentioned that Broadway Paper has such a high level of success with books that they often sell through stock before they even need to pay for the order due to attractive terms publishers offer. All around, books are a sound financial investment for stationery and gift shops to incorporate into their offerings.

For stores that want to begin selling books, the first step is to attend BookExpo in 2021 in New York. Buyers can meet with the major publishing houses of course, while also discovering hundreds of fantastic smaller publishers that only exhibit at Book Expo. Interesting, topical program content rounds out an enriching and exciting experience. For more information about BookExpo, visit


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