Wick Communications

Reading is fundamental

In Books on July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

From the just-sharing-an-idea department, I thought I would pass along a successful campaign we’ve been helping to facilitate at the Half Moon Bay Review. Who knows, something similar might work for you.

We have a twice-monthly “Books” page in the paper. It’s a nod to the fact that, at the time we launched it, there were five independent book stores in town. We figured we could intrigue advertisers (and appeal to our literate readership) by featuring local authors, book events, library things, etc., in a regular way.

Anyway, about a month ago a local reader called to say he had a garage full of brand-new children’s books. He used to be a book reviewer and the books were piling up. He asked if the Review would help distribute them to eager young readers. …

How could I refuse something like that?

We decided to write a story that introduced the book giveaway as well as telling readers a bit about our donor. For a little added boost, I wrote an editorial about the program. We made up some rules: Bring the Books page to the Review office and receive three free books. Answer the accompanying quiz, which was cleverly designed by Review staff writer Sara Hayden, and get a bonus – two more books.

The donor brought a couple boxes of books – from picture books to young adult titles – and we stashed them in my office. The newspaper came out on July 18… and we waited.

Actually, we didn’t have to wait long. Over the next few days we had a steady trickle of families coming in for the books. They were universally grateful. It built goodwill for the newspaper and made everyone involved feel good. And promoting reading in children is just an unqualified good idea for those in our business.

You may not have a willing donor like that. But I bet you do. What if you ran a story in the paper asking readers to donate gently used books their own kids have outgrown. While you are at it, invite those same readers to come in and take something other donors have left, books that may be more age-appropriate. In other words, facilitate a book swap.

Or maybe you take those books you receive from readers to the local friends of the library chapter. Maybe it can use the books at the library or sell them to raise money.

It’s just an idea.

Clay

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