"Visit at least two bookstores, one being a chain (Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.) and the other an independent bookstore. Also visit the book department in at least one of these: Costco, Target, or Wal-Mart.
"In the chain or independent, look at three areas:
- The displays near the front of the store
- Displays at the end of the aisles (known as endcaps)
- The area near the cash registers
"Look for things like signs, stickers on books, bookmarks, and floor and counter displays. Also look for "staff pick" sections. Make a list of the things that you see, and also make note of what kinds of books dominate the front tables: seasonal themes, bestsellers, paperbacks, sale books, and even non-books. Also, take samples of any handouts, from bookmarks to newsletters. In Costco, Target, or Wal-Mart, just make note of what kinds of books are carried and how they are displayed. Write up your impressions and note which stores you visited."
I would also add a few more steps:
- Make note of the different sections that books are grouped into. Pick two or three sections that are most appealing to you personally--the books you are most likely to read and buy.
- In each section you select, find out who are the three dominant publishers--the imprints you see most often in that section.
- Go home and look up these publishers on their Web pages. Where are they located? What are their hot new releases? What jobs do they have available?
- If you can identify someone at the publisher who has a job you are interested in, send them an e-mail and ask whether you might be able to interview them about their jobs--no more than 30 minutes, and never use this time to try and get a job offer. Just find out what their jobs are like.
If anyone wants to share the results of their research with other readers of this blog, send them along and I will be glad to post about them.