Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Field Report: Bookstore Display at Houston (IAH) Airport

Hey y'all!  It's Morgan reporting from super rainy and humid Nashville, TN.  If you follow my personal blog (Morgan's Mix Tape), then you know that my marketing day job requires a significant amount of business travel.  Yesterday, while traveling from Portland, OR (PDX) to Nashville, TN (BNA), I connected through Houston, TX (IAH).

Of course the bookstore on my landing terminal caught my eye.  Yup - I'm a sucker for a bookstore!  Show me a writer who doesn't love bookstores and I'll show you a freak of nature.  Ha!

Airport bookstores are strange beasts.  Their core audience is the male, business traveler.  Their secondary audience is the female, business traveler.  A third audience is the traveling family.  For this reason, they tend to have a large nonfiction section focused on business best practices and self help.  Their fiction selections lean towards best sellers with a focus on thrillers, literary fiction, romance, and some adventure / science fiction.  There are also loads of books with military themes and a small kids section.

So, imagine my surprise to see so much of the in-store marketing real estate dedicated to the 50 Shades series.  Note: This display was one of only two large table layouts in the store.  More 50 Shades books were on the shelves.

HUGE 50 Shades display.

Depending on how you entered the store, either the 50 Shades table or the display below greeted you.

Second large table display.

Observations:
  • Airport bookstores are high traffic, high volume outlets.....they sell a ton of books!  Though we authors have little control over in-store displays, it is always worth while to see which books are stocked and how they are displayed.
  • There were quite a few people in this small store, so I had to wait patiently to get a clear picture of the displays.  In short, yes - I see loads of e-readers on planes and throughout airports...but I also see a ton of people reading printed books, too.  As one friend put it, "I don't have to power down my paperback for take off and landing."  (So, now I travel with BOTH my e-reader and a printed book.)
  • If your book has a travel theme, it might be interesting to investigate doing a book signing at the airport.  In fact, it might be interesting to do ANY genre book signing at a bookstore....you would be guaranteed some instant word of mouth buzz among travelers.
  • The large 50 Shades display makes me wonder if there is any crossover appeal from its primary female audience to the bookstore's primary male audience.  Or is it just a testament to professional female buying power - we are starting to take over venues traditionally focused at men.  This same phenomenon has already occurred in the automotive and electronics industry.

What are your thoughts??


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1 comment:

  1. A few years back I was in Raleigh Durham airport several times, and fell in love with the new and used book store. Yep, used. One of the few times I've found an airport book store worth perusing. I wonder how successful they could be in other airports.

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