Boosting Book Sales

Books not only help increase revenue and add-on sales, they provide a pet store with a wealth of information that customers and employees will find very useful.



Many pet stores tend to neglect books. This is unfortunate, because a book is not just another product, it is a source of information that can make the difference between a successful pet-owning experience and a disastrous one. It’s important for store employees to understand the value of a good pet care book and to pass that understanding along to customers. Many customers will want to purchase a book about the pet they are buying, and it makes sense to give them the option of buying it at the pet store instead of the bookstore.

In addition, books practically merchandise themselves due to the work publishers have put into designing book covers. Each cover is carefully designed to attract buyers, so be sure to take advantage of this and display books with their covers facing out. While it takes up a bit more space to display books in this way–instead of spine-out–it is worth it. Book distributors can often supply display fixtures that help showcase a large number of books in a small area.

It’s also important for a book display to look neat and inviting. Labeling different sections of the display will make it easier for customers to find the type of books they are looking for. Damage to books and magazines can be minimized by prominently labeling one of each as the “store copy” and shrink-wrapping the other copies. This way, customers can look through the store copy while the merchandise stays pristine.

A Book Display
Some stores choose to carry only a few books about any one species. In this case, it is probably best to display the books either in that animal’s department or near the livestock, so customers can read about the pets they see. Other stores carry a large selection of books. In this case, it’s best to display them together.

There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to place a large book section in the front of the store. First, it makes the books easier to access by both customers and staff. Many customers will be tempted to browse the books, lured by the appealing color pictures, which may result in an impulse buy. This location also allows employees to easily refer customers to a particular title, (especially when escorting them to the register), or reference a book if they need to answer a customer’s question. Employees should be trained to approach customers who are perusing the books, as it may be a sign that the customer is trying to find the answer to a question.

Marketing Tips
Most people buy a book because it has been recommended to them. Paging through a book, checking the table of contents and looking at the pictures can only provide so much information. Retailers can help customers feel good about buying a book by posting reviews in the store. These reviews can be written by an expert, such as an officer of a pet club or a veterinarian, or they can be downloaded from an online bookstore. A store can even have a bulletin board in the book area to allow customers to post their own reviews. If the store offers an extensive selection of books, the retailer should provide a list of bestsellers. Customers feel confident buying a book that is popular with other pet owners.

Encourage store employees to read every book in the store, especially the new arrivals. Consider designating each employee the book “expert” on a particular animal, and be sure they have read every book the store carries on that pet. Each staff expert should know what each book is about and, at the very least, whether each book offers basic or comprehensive information.

Consider setting up a section of the book display area for “Books of the Week.” This showcase could also be a special endcap in the front of the store. A sign or poster can point out what makes each book valuable. This will surely draw the attention of customers.  

Debbie Ducommun has a B.A. in animal behavior and has worked in the animal field since 1982. She is the author of the book Rats!, the booklet Rat Health Care and, her most recent book, The Complete Guide to Rat Training: Tricks and Games for Rat Fun and Fitness.


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