07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Creating Community Through Books

By Judith Ashley

Jan’s Paperbacks is a supporter of romance authors. I know that because I've had the pleasure of signing my books there as well as attending other authors’ signings. Also, in November 2013, owner Debbie Burke was a featured speaker at a Kobo Event held in Beaverton, OR with a massive book signing (eighteen authors) in her store that evening. Not only was I impressed with how everything was set up at the mega-signing, I found the information she shared about how to approach book stores if authors wanted them to carry their books to be invaluable.  

Diana McCollum, Judith Ashley, Sarah Raplee 
One tip was to make an appointment. Another tip was to respect that the book store as a place of business. Therefore, when customers come in, the staff need to wait on them and we, the author, need to step aside. I took those tips to heart so I made an appointment to talk to Debbie at a time that worked best for her. Jan's Paperbacks does much more than support romance and other genre authors. 

One of Debbie’s passions is creating community: a community of authors and readers.

How do Debbie and her staff do this?

Mark this date: Saturday May 16th.

Jan’s is spinning off on the BOGO idea by promoting local authors. If you are in the area, stop by and meet local authors, purchase a book, and you’ll get a used book free. As you can see, there is something for everyone – definitely a win-win opportunity.

Want to self-publish a book? Want some ideas about marketing? Check out Jan’s educational programs for writers. Sign up for their newsletter so you can attend the next educational event. If you can’t make one of the seminars, you’ll find great books on self-publishing on the shelves.

National recognition for Debbie’s work supporting local romance authors came in the form of Jan’s Paperbacks being named a Romantic Times Book Review Magazine Bookseller in 2012.

While Jan’s Paperbacks has supported authors for many years, the other half of the equation is readers. Creating a community of young readers is one way Debbie supports readers. She works with schools, giving them discounts on books, problem solving to get new reading material into school libraries with minimal funding. She has a teachers’ “wish list” of books. Want to help? Contact Jan’s to see how you can put books into schools and make wishes come true.

Win-win is a fundamental piece of creating community. Jan’s Paperbacks has chosen to become part of the Kobo community of independent book stores. Readers can purchase digital books from Kobo through their website. Why would an independent bookstore who sells paper books promote Kobo e-readers and digital books?

“E-books are not going away,” Debbie said. “With Kobo, I’m able to educate my customers about e-books providing them with another service.” You can click on Jan’s Paperback’s website and order an e-book anytime. If you don’t have a Kobo e-reader, you can purchase one from Jan’s or just download the Kobo app to your tablet or cell phone.

Jan’s Paperbacks is located in Aloha, Oregon. If you aren't in the “greater Portland area” look for an independent book store near you. Ask about local authors, sign up for their newsletter. Supporting our local independent book store creates community and supports our local economy.

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Womens' Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nourish the soul. She is also a co-founder of Romancing The Genres.


Linda Lovely said...

Always delighted to hear about independent bookstores succeeding and collaborating with authors.

Sarah Raplee said...

I agree that Jan's is a great indie book store. Debbie and her staff do an amazing job of creating community.

Paty Jager said...

Nice post, Judith. I agree, Debbie and her staff are wonderful to work with. And it is a store of community.

Diana McCollum said...

Yay, for independent Book stores! Great blog post and yes I agree, Debbie and her staff are wonderful to work with. It nice that you've shown us another side to the book store.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for your comments, Diana, Sarah, Paty and Linda. Independent Book Stores are a real asset for readers and writers alike.