Upholding Tradition

Commencement is just a couple of days away, so traditions are a big focus at the moment. One tradition we are currently upholding is promoting Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss (this is the book that Michael Scott attempts but fails to buy for his new boss Ryan on The Office). We have an appropriately Seussian ostentatious display set up for the promotion, and the book is selling for us. In counter-intuitive fact, traditional children’s books sell rather well for us, even though we are a college bookstore. Some popular titles do well for us as well (we had a tremendously successful Harry Potter release party last summer), but we can’t move the Gossip Girl books despite our coed customer base. That may be because they are embarrassed to buy You Know You Love Me along with their textbooks, or it may simply be that they aren’t the customers buying children’s books in our store. Children’s is a top five category for us however, so we know someone is buying them! Considering the success we have with traditional children’s titles, it seems reasonable to conclude that it is our university staff and faculty who are purchasing books for their kids and grandkids. In some nostalgic cases, they buy their own replacement copies of the books they loved in their youth.

With that in mind, I have been scouting catalogs for traditional titles to stock, and I’ve had some success along those lines. I brought in three copies of a new lavishly illustrated volume of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Palazzo Editions, $19.95), and two copies have already sold.

Lesser known among my own generation are the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and Snipp, Snapp, Snurr series by Maj Lindman (Albert Whitman & Co., $6.95), but we have received some requests for them. Initially I ordered one copy of three titles in each series, and two of the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books were gone two days later! I have since ordered in the full lines of both series. I’m still on the lookout for more traditional children’s titles, if anyone has recommendations for me!

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