After moving its YA books out of children's and creating a separate Teen Fiction section in the Fiction room, the
Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, N.Y., wanted to make sure that preteens found the new area. Encouraged by the success of last summer's Bee a Reader program for preschoolers, general books manager Rob Stahl said, "We're doing one this spring called Get an Edge Up. If preteens read four novels—they don't have to buy them here, but we hope they will—between April and the end of June, they get a free teen novel, a pencil, a bookmark and a 10% discount coupon to the store." They also get their name entered in a drawing for a free CD.
By working with Demco, a library book distributor, for the themed bookmarks and other promotional items, and with publishers donating books, the program is a relatively inexpensive way to promote literacy and build store traffic. In fact, it's so effective that Stahl plans to repeat the preschooler reading program this summer and add a new one for middle schoolers in the fall. "It's a customer service, community thing, and it really is to get kids into reading," said Stahl.