The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is partnering with its member booksellers to generate revenue while demonstrating the collective clout of independent bookstore—by placing the same banner ad on participating bookstore Web sites. SIBA will sell and control the rotating ads, which will appear simultaneously on every participating bookstore's Web site for the duration of its booking.
To sweeten the deal for booksellers, SIBA will waive annual membership fees from any store that participates in the venture. SIBA personnel are banking that revenue generated from the banner ads will make up for the loss in revenue from the waived membership dues. "We are always looking for ways to show the impact our stores have on the market,” said SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell, explaining that by independent bookstores collectively promoting the same title at the same time, sales of the book will increase as will the visibility of SIBA stores to publishers. SIBA intends to provide statistical information to advertisers so they can gauge the effectiveness of the program.
Jewell acknowledged that SIBA’s Bookstore Banner program is also a way for stores that are forced to cut expenses during the ongoing recession to be able to save the $150 they may or may not have spent on their annual SIBA membership dues, while retaining full access to the organization.
SIBA reports that the response from its member stores has been “enthusiastic,” with 29 stores to date signing up to participate, including such high-profile stores as Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla.; That Bookstore in Blytheville, Ark.; and the Regulator in Durham, N.C. “I trust Wanda Jewell well enough that I know she won’t put something I don’t like on my Web site,” explained Tom Campbell, the Regulator’s co-owner. “I wouldn’t give this authority to just anyone.”
SIBA’s first banner ad, which promotes National Bookstore Day on November 7, has already gone up on some of the participating store Web sites. The program, however, will go live on January 1, 2010.