How Independent Bookstores Can Use Google & Groupon

By Jason Boog Comment

Today we interviewed Green Apple Books co-owner Pete Mulvihill, finding out how his bookstore uses Google and Groupon to build sales during this difficult time for independent booksellers.

This week, Mulvihill will host a Technology Petting Zoo at his bookstore, helping customers explore Google eBooks on a variety of platforms and sample the new technology.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview, as Mulvihill shared his experience of crafting a Groupon deal: “We were a little hesitant to use Groupon because the margins in bookselling areĀ  worse than other things you see Groupons for … the economics didn’t seem feasible at first. But the response surprised both us and Groupon.”

He concluded: “The portion of Groupons redeemed was the difference between having a flat May and being up this year … Booksellers have to think of it as an advertising or promotional cost, rather than a sale to your existing customers … The deal was $20 of Green Apple stuff for $10– people are spending an average of $35 or $40 with us. So far, the numbers look like they’ll work out–we’ll break even or even make something on it. In the long run, if only if 10 percent of those people are new customers, that customer acquisition cost of zero, you just can’t buy that kind of advertising.”