We were able to get Brian Burton, the founder of an online children’s bookstore to agree to a quick question and answer session with us. He had some great insights on how to market your company online. You can learn more about the company at www.childrensbookstore.com and find them on Twitter at @booksforchildrn , or visit their Facebook page. Here’s what he had to say.
Children’s Book Store is a great web site, and I’ve enjoyed perusing it. Would you tell me a little about how you got into the world of children’s books and why you decided to head in that direction with your business?
After my wife and I had our second child, I found that we were had a lot of children’s books–but not a lot of good children’s books. When I visited websites that offer juvenile literate, I found that none had a really good focus on children’s books. So, I bought the domain name “childrensbookstore.com” and decided to build an online source for children’s books that offered books, book recommendations, reading activities and information that will help any consumer of juvenile literature use their money well in buying books for the young people in their lives.
The online book market is very competitive… what are some things you do to stay on top and profitable? How much does online marketing and social media promotion factor into your business model?
We have an excellent community of parents, teachers and authors who enjoy the recommendations we offer. We do a lot of social media promotion for our news and updates that children’s books fans find useful.
What is it that makes Children’s Book Store stand out from all of the other kid’s books competitors? What makes you guys different?
We sell books for children from age 0 to age 12 only. We don’t sell auto parts, jewelry and books–just children’s books. When you visit the site, it is easy to find board books, pop up books and lift the flap books. These types of books are very popular with parents and children. However, at most sites, you have to click through several layers of the site before you find them. We put the books that parents are looking for right up front. We can do that because all we sell is children’s books–nothing else.
Does your long-term business strategy include adding a forum for customers who want to buy downloadable e-books?
Perhaps, I have not fully considered that product line yet. It’s certainly something I’m open to. However, I’d have to find the right distributor, who understands our unique business model.
Can you give us an idea of what strategy works best for you as an online retailer? Are there any challenges or setbacks you wouldn’t mind sharing with us that other online retailers can learn from?
You have to stay persistent and go far out of your way to add value to your customers. We offer a very high level of customer service that you just don’t receive at much larger online retailers. I’d say that you just can’t open the store and expect people to start buying. You have to add to the discussion and the industry.
What’s the best part of owning/running the site?
I love communicating with authors, illustrators and publishers. It’s very rewarding to follow a book from concept to production and then seeing how that book is used and enjoyed by parents and children. I also enjoy working with schools and classrooms in helping them find the best books for their students. Personally, I love buying the best books available for my own young children. We have a lot of books still–except now, they’re all really good.