Jenna Todd is the Manager of Time Out Bookstore in Auckland. They have an online store using Circlesoft, but in front of that they run a website buit using Squarespace. Her key strengths are her knowledge of Circlesoft, handselling, and innovation and community.
1. Why do you love being a bookseller?
I love being a bookseller because of the like-minded people I get to engage with on a daily basis. I value the community and contribution to NZ culture.
2. Tell us about your store and its clientele.
We are a tiny store based in the heart of the Mt Eden Village, Auckland. Open from 9am-9pm everyday, we are a cultural hub with a diverse range of customers from families, students to retirees.
3. Which Booksellers NZ membership benefits do you use?
Summer Catalogue, NZ Bookshop Day POS, Conference, The Read.
4. What three aspects of bookselling do you consider your strengths? (one or two sentences each, with examples please)
Knowledge of Circlesoft: We have used Circlesoft for a long time and I feel like I can offer good advice about the best ways to use this problem. We run a very successful loyalty programme using Circlesoft and group emailing too.
Customer Service/Handselling: We have two staff who have won the Kobo Booksellers Scholarship and Young Bookseller of the Year at the NZ Industry Awards. We are super engaged in new releases, love to hear what people are reading and feel we can put the next best book in customer's hands.
Innovation and community: We are constantly looking at ways to keep our customers engaged and loyal to the shop. Recent successes have been our book subscription programme range: https://www.timeout.co.nz/giftservices as well as our Lit Reads book club, a monthly book club run by Suri Reddy.
5. Do you see book reps regularly?
I do not personally. Our book buyers at Time Out are Kiran Dass and Wendy Tighe-Umbers and they see book reps all through the week.
6. Do you have an event calendar for the year? If so, how has that been beneficial for sales and business in general?
We do! You can see our events here:
Event hosting details here:
Events can be beneficial, but we try to be picky about what events we contribute to in terms of staffing and catering.
One thing we do, is let authors use the room themselves, so they organise everything, bring in the stock and we sell the books through the till. This is one benefit of having our upstairs room and also being open until 9pm.
7. Do you collaborate with other stores – locally or nationally – for promotions or best practise behaviours?
Not at the moment, but it doesn't mean we wouldn't in the future! We feel comfortable calling our buddies for advice or last minute stock borrowing!
8. What is your underlying philosophy when running your store?
We stock what customers don't know they want yet, and are not judgemental of what customers are buying. We want to be a safe, inclusive space for all readers!