Daunt Books, the highly regarded UK bookstore chain which began with a travel focus and has since branched out into general book selling – as well as producing the savior of Waterstones, James Daunt – has a rather attractive version of the Amazon Recommendations engine: In print, naturally, for print books. Themed printed flyers.
The flyers, keyed to a particular highly popular/visible title, take up the same theme or category and show other recommendations. The examples on show are for young adult readers, but there are plenty of others for different age groups from kids’ literature to adult fiction. And of course, they’re point-of-sale material, placed by the shelves to catch the buyer in the best position to act on them and buy.
The program has been running for four years now, and according to Daunt staff, has had good results. And Daunt Books’ success speaks for itself, not only in sustaining sales, with steady or even rising figures while other chains such as Borders close, but also in retaining public goodwill and affection. Paper recommendations may not be enough to beat Amazon at its own game, but they are certainly enough to convince customers that the bookseller cares – and knows.