It’s been a few weeks since we held our “conference time” book fair at Lounsberry, but I wanted to wait to write this post until we had a better idea on how we made out. Due to a change in the conference schedule, this year’s fair only lasted one week with three of those days limited, due to early dismissal for conferences. In year’s past, the fair lasted one full week plus the three half conference days. This change was more a matter of circumstance while the following change was my initiative…
This year we took a bit of a risk and decided to use a local book store, Sparta Books, to run our fair. We’ve used Scholastic Book Fairs in the past, and in all honesty, I haven’t been thrilled with the selection. I wanted a bit more control over the books we were selling, especially when many in our school community thought I chose what we were selling! I was inspired to call Sparta books, since I was aware that my own hometown district uses their local book store. So here’s the low down…
- Set up was awesome and easy
- No monstrous containers to try to fit, get to and move around in in our space; our custodians were very happy!
- Personal service which included set up help and personal delivery of reorders.
- No mishmash of titles that seem to make no sense where they’re placed
- It was incredibly easy to sort books by genre since I was familiar with the books
- I was familiar with the books!
- The fair itself felt far less invasive, even though the tabletops were being used for display.
- It was much easier to find what students were looking for
- No junk!
The not so great…
We didn’t make as much money. However, other factors contributed to loss of sales, such as: a much shorter fair, not enough books (we will include more copies and titles next year), no junk! and students use of e-readers. In addition, ringing up was a bit harder because we needed to enter dollar amounts in a basic register; Scholastic uses a scanner. Also, we needed to take orders, since Sparta books is not a warehouse and doesn’t have the financial ability to order way more than they think we can sell. Students were fine with placing orders, however, sorting books after they came took some time and effort.
- We were supporting a local book store!!!
- I had six or so students come back and tell me how much they loved their new purchased book, (I’ve never, ever heard that in previous fairs)
Will we do it again? Definitely! I love supporting a local book store and the fact that our students left with good books. I’ve always questioned the whole book fair concept in the library setting, but I do know that more books at home encourages more reading. I may even add a Barnes & Noble online sale for Valentine’s Day to support Nook owners, possibly earn a few more lost dollars and foster the gift of reading.
And here’s the best part…as an additional way to show our support during the book fair, our school community collected $500- to support the students of Lavallette School, which have been displaced due to Hurricane Sandy. Our students are totally psyched about helping and our planning to connect with their fifth and sixth grade students, (yet to figure out the details, but we’ll make it happen!). It’s all good!