The American Booksellers Association’s plastic gift card program has weathered five Christmas seasons and the transition from BookSense to IndieBound. But despite the addition of new card holders with popular IndieBound slogans like Eat. Sleep. Read. and Nap. Snack. Read., the program may not be able to withstand changes in the way people shop.
Although the program was designed to allow consumers in one part of the country to buy a gift card at their neighborhood store that friends and family could redeem at neighborhood stores in other parts of the country, very few people actually do that. “It’s just as easy to go online and buy a card,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher, adding that most cards are redeemed at the stores where they are purchased.
“Our mantra is to provide cards that are the most efficient and cost effective,” added Teicher. “It may be that members can offer gift cards less expensively.” Currently, participants in the ABA gift card program pay a premium to make their cards available at more than 380 locations and redeemable at 200 Web sites.
No decision has been reached yet on whether to end the program, and if so, when.