Thursday, January 22, 2004

Jim Crocker knows promotion... 

So, hopefully everyone in Western Massachusetts is already aware that Modern Myths is a great store. But thankfully the smarts aren't limited to selection. With all the talk lately on promotion of stores and the growing popularity of manga, behold:

The Northampton Academy of Music Theater will be having another Anime Film Festival on Saturday, January 24th. 4 films will be shown, starting at 10:00 AM, and there will be an anime-themed multimedia party at the Northampton Center for the Arts afterwards, starting at 6:30 PM. The party will have sushi, J-Pop, karaoke, a fan art show, and we'll be there with a SPECIAL SALE on MANGA, as we move out some of the older versions of Viz and Tokyopop stuff to make room for the 2nd editions.

See, now this is just a great move on many levels. First of all, the store is already in a good area with a parking lot and is well-lit and family friendly. He also has quite a large manga selection, generally more than the bookstores (which is saying something these days). And also a bunch of Japanese art books and some magazines. So, it is already a good environment to attract a varied clientel. The hard part then is to get people to come, especially when bookstores are prevalant and sometimes have good discount sales.

So, the local cultural city of Northampton has an anime festival at one of the theaters. I went to the first one and enjoyed it a lot. One thing I noticed was sushi being sold by a local Japanese resteraunt. I thought that was a good idea. The theater got food, and the shop got lots of good publicity and also sold a lot of food.

So, now in the third iteration of the festival, they have more stuff planed and now Jim is in a great position. Not only will he likely sell a decent amount since the stuff will be on sale, as well as clearing out older inventory, the big thing is promotion. Lots of anime fans will be coming to this from all over the place. I know the first festival was packed with at least like 200 people. Not everyone will go to the party, but I'm sure quite a lot will. I doubt that many of the people will be familiar with Modern Myths, so this could give a huge amount of exposure. Also, since so much of the store is comprised of TPBs, sorted by general categories (family, superheros, etc.), I'm sure that Jim will be able to point the people to a couple of interesting american books as well that they might enjoy.

For other retailers out there, especially those with a selection of manga, do some research. Are there any anime conventions in the area? Maybe it'd be worth your while to at least show up. You may barely make back the cost of a table or lose a bit of money, but you could get some exposure to people used to shopping in bookstores. If there are any clubs at local colleges and such, maybe you should show up and offer a little club discount to them. Be creative people! Having a good selection does nothing if people don't know you exist, especially for people with other options availible. Also, if you are a shop that carries CCGs, a lot of those are based on manga. For all the kiddies coming in just to buy cards, maybe try a discounted package with some packs of YuYu Hakusho along with the first volume of the manga (which is only $8 to begin with). Same goes for Yu-Gi-Oh or DBZ or whatever. Jim definitely has the right idea.. hopefully more people can follow it up...

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