They say summertime in retail is the time to try new things. (Okay, no one says that, but I think it must be true.) The days are longer and lazier, and autumn and Black Friday and Christmas are both distant memories and future problems. My brain is clearer than in January, when I was grasping for breath after a thankfully busy holiday season. The wheels are turning, have been turning for some time, and slowly, the thoughts I've been thinking are becoming a reality.
A new home for The Bookshelf online was at the top of my priority list. The other site wasn't user-friendly, and we weren't garnering the traffic or attention I believe our little store deserves. I don't know if a brand-new website was the answer for that, but I'm a big believer in creating beautiful things and waiting to see what happens. It's pretty much the only thing I know how to do.
So here. This website is me, throwing something beautiful out into space, hoping it sticks.
The site itself is cleaner, more white space, more photos. Our blog gets to be front-and-center, which is where I think it should be. Our whole staff takes turns writing blog posts, and they shouldn't be buried somewhere, unable to found. You can leave comments now, if you so choose, just like you do on our Facebook page. The website is, to me, another place for us to interact online; the blog makes that easy.
We've also revamped our online shop. Here is the truth no one wants to say: If you're shopping for books online, you're shopping on A**** (they-who-shall-not-be-named). You're looking for cheap books, and you're not going to find them here. So why should we put our entire inventory online? Why not, instead, feature a few staff selections every month -- books we've read and believe in and want you to read too. Why not offer our literary matchmaking services in the form of a book-a-month club? You fill out an online questionnaire, submit payment, and we send you a surprise reading selection -- based on your reading preferences -- in the mail. (Treat yo' self, or a friend.) It simplifies the shopping for you, and gives us more time to do what we do best: read, and tell you what to read next.
Last, but not least, the podcast. "From the Front Porch" is the brainchild of me and Katie, a collaboration we thought would be fun as we continue our partnership and I begin to take over The Bookshelf. It's an insider's look at running the store, a guide to what you should be reading, a look at life in a small, Southern town. The plan is to record a new episode each month; I'll have more details about the podcast next week, but for now, take a listen, and see what you think.
So there you have it. The Bookshelf's new home on the web.
Welcome. We hope you sit and stay a while.