For every Irene Némirovsky, Isabel Allende, and Stieg Larsson, there are dozens more unknown international authors who Harvetta Asamoah thinks have the potential to captivate readers in the same way. Asamoah, who owns Presse Bookstore in Washington, D.C., just took a step toward making that happen, by launching an e-commerce site that will hopefully bring a world of visitors to her little shop.
The former international lawyer and legal translator with a B.A. in French and Spanish literature opened Presse Bookstore in Georgetown in 2008. The shop occupies 1,000 square feet in Georgetown's Book Hill shopping district. It sells translated fiction and nonfiction, as well as titles in foreign languages and audiobooks, music CDs, and DVDs (about three-quarters of the books it sells are in English). Up until now, Presse had a Web site which Asamoah describes as a "brochure," with examples of the types of books the store carried, but no e-commerce functionality.
Using IndieBound's e-commerce system, Asamoah has added inventory online. She now spends about an hour a day adding titles to the site. The offerings are slowly growing, showcasing Presse's extensive offerings, which include fiction, biography, international cooking, religion and spirituality, reference (language learning and writing materials), art, film, and music. It also sells And accessories, umbrellas, and stationery; and magazine subscriptions through Zinio.
Asamoah says most of Presse's in-store customers are Georgetown residents (not necessarily students), as well as tourists. But she is hoping that the launch of the e-commerce site will bring a much wider customer base. She is promoting it on Facebook and Twitter. "This new site will expand our presence beyond the DC metro region, and bring our eclectic collection of books, music, accessories and art to literature lovers around the world," she said.