How to Establish and Maintain a Monthly Meeting Book Table
Would you like to regularly provide literature that supports the spiritual lives of the attenders and members of your meeting?
Would you like Friends to regularly purchase books for your library?
Would you like to have a steady stream of materials available for adult and children’s first day school?
Why not provide a book table?
There are many easy and low maintenance ways to establish a book table and it’s a great way to get literature into the hands of Friends. Below are a few ideas to help you get started.
1. Have an organizational meeting with those in your monthly meeting who will be responsible for the book table.
Often this is the library committee, though some meetings do have a separate book table committee. You’ll need to decide on the organizational structure of the book table and who will be responsible for what tasks.
2. Decide on jobs for those involved. Jobs may include:
NOTE: Tasks a and b could be combined, with c still separate as a check and balance.
3. Decide on how you will keep track of books.
Two possible ways include:
a. Advertise regular hours (during coffee hour, before meeting, etc.) and have a cashier to sell books.This approach involves keeping a money box for change and then submitting deposits to the treasurer.May also involve recording the books sold for the book stocker and storing the books in a secure location during closed hours.
4. Decide on where to display books.
It is very important to locate the book table in a spot that is easily accessible and where there is a good amount of traffic. We suggest putting the books on a table or two with a bookshelf or bookstands on top of it. Generally you will sell books quicker if they are displayed face out. Organize the books in a way that is easily apprehended by the customer (i.e. by subject, alphabetical by title). Use signage or groupings that make it clear how they are organized so that customers can find books easily.We also recommend putting out a suggestion box for titles on the table. Many meetings find they sell more if the books are taken down and put out again the next week – this prevents the book table from becoming a constant part of the background.
5. Decide on how to promote the book table.
Two good and simple ways are announcements at the end of meeting or in the meeting newsletter. Featuring books and providing a review or a summary can really help to sell them.
6. Decide on how many vendors you would like to use and which ones.
You may find one supplier sufficient and that it keeps things simple. Find out the terms and policies from each vendor, acquire their book list or catalog and spend a little time talking with someone on their staff who is knowledgeable and can give you some tips on what stock to order and how to begin.
7. Have the book stocker order the first books, check them in, set up and begin! It’s a good idea to set up regular meetings of those running the book table to make sure things run smoothly.
Book tables: Would you like to offer your meeting a selection of Quaker books for sale? We offer a 15% discount on FGC, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting or Listening Spirituality titles and all other books.
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