Reading A Market

You've Got Sales

"The book industry spends an average of about 2 percent of its gross sales on advertising," says McGee. "That month, we went to about 10 percent of gross sales. We gambled."

The payoff? Visible results within days. "It was a match made in heaven," McGee says of her fortuitous plunge into a narrower scope of radio advertising. "There was about a 50 percent increase in sales within 30 days," she says.

As the store's repeat-customer base mushroomed, McGee was delighted to find that some customers were driving miles to come to Apple Book Center, passing several superstores on the way.

With the plethora of activities the store offers, it should have come as no surprise. Apple Book Center's exciting and positive environment has stimulated a loyal following from all age levels. The store features high-profile book signings, celebrity storytellers, eight different book clubs for children (including a mother-daughter club), business and investment seminars for boomers, and travel and financial planning meetings for seniors. Add to that a monthly newsletter that goes out to 7,000 of the store's faithful customers.

McGee is committed to offering something for everyone. "About 25 percent of our floor space is dedicated to children's books," she says, "but if you want the latest Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver or Mary Higgins Clark, you can get those [here], too, as well as [find] one of the broadest selections of multicultural titles in the area."

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Reading A Market.

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