MyNorth News Service
(Press Release provided by Brilliant Books)
TRAVERSE CITY: Brilliant Books’ Book of the Month Club exploded in popularity over the past holiday period as people all over the country signed up for the Traverse City bookstore’s unique, personalized book selection service.
“We went from subscriber numbers in the low 100’s to over a thousand in the space of four weeks in December,” explained store owner Peter Makin. “Subscribers fill out a preferences card, which we then use to pick out books specifically for them. But with over a thousand folks to choose books for we clearly needed something more efficient and scaleable.”
Brilliant Books did not have to look far for a solution. Makin’s wife, Colleen is a software developer who proposed a radical answer that allowed the store to keep the personal connection afforded by the contents of the card system, but that allowed speedy selection and ordering.
“We scanned in every card, so the booksellers could see what folks wanted to read and created a database of all our subscribers and the books they are sent.”
Using an iPad and a bluetooth scanner, booksellers can see who they have to select for, check out their individual preferences, see what books the customer already has, and see feedback on those selections.
Store Manager Jack Hannert has been in the book selling business for over 15 years and welcomes this radical, personalized, but high tech system. “Now I can select books as swiftly and accurately for a customer as if they were standing in front of me,” he said.
Makin believes that this unique service, that has subscribers in every state in the Union, can now grow from its current base of around 1200, to over 10,000 by the year’s end. An ambitious target, but one that the store believes it has the skill set for and now the capacity to fulfill.
With the launch of a Kid’s Book of the Month last October, the store is seeing a huge rise in overall gift giving, not just for the holidays. “We see The Book of the Month Club given as a gift in a myriad of different circumstances,” said Makin. “We have folks who buy it for their parents, or for their children; people give it as a retirement gift, or as a thank you, or to their significant other.”
Brilliant Books is located at 118 Front Street, downtown Traverse City. Call 231.946.2665 for more information.