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Beyond Bookstores: Opportunities in the Specialty Sales Market

March 21, 2018 @ 4:30 pm


Where else can you sell books besides bookstores? With countless boutiques, gift stores, and merchandising opportunities available throughout the Twin Cities and the country, how does a publisher tackle the ever-changing specialty sales landscape? While marketing and publicity initiatives can play a huge role in launching a book into the special sales market, it is critical to better understand the needs of these distinctive accounts, which offer opportunities for growth outside typical sales channels.

Join MBPR for a discussion featuring a group of specialty sales experts who will discuss best practices and successful ways to launch unique books in these non-traditional retail environments. Featuring an in-house manager of specialty sales, a sales representative from a company focused on the specialty gift market, and a buyer/owner from a local store who loves stocking and selling books, the panelists will discuss the chain of specialty sales, how to get these books into sales reps’ and buyers’ hands, how to manage these growth opportunities, and how to identify specialty market trends.


Audrey Matson is the owner of Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply, a store she founded in 2010 in the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul, MN which specializes in supplies and inspiration for backyard gardeners and urban homesteaders. Its most profitable sections feature merchandise in backyard chicken keeping, vegetable/fruit gardening, canning/fermenting, cheesemaking, and maple tapping. Because these subjects all have a strong DIY component, she finds that instructional and aspirational books are a great fit for her customers who often have to learn new skills as their interests develop. Audrey has a BA from Hamline University and an MA in horticulture from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Always an avid reader and booklover, she managed bookstores in St. Paul, MN, and Milwaukee, WI, before opening Egg|Plant.

Molly Mortensen is a gift sales representative for Minnesota with Anne McGilvray & Company, where she has been a leader in the industry for the past thirteen years. She works directly with store owners and helps them select the perfect gift products with the aim of making the entire process as enjoyable and productive as possible. Molly specializes in selling books from many different publisher clients, which allows stores to differentiate themselves from others, and she loves building long-standing relationships with her stores and identifying new industry trends. Molly’s presentation will focus on bridging the gap between publishing companies and the gift market, as well as describing what books can work well there.

Nichole Schiele is manager, specialty market sales, at the Quarto Group, where she has spent the last eleven years in both this role and as Motorbooks’s marketing manager. In her current role, her aim is to sell as many books to customers wherever they are shopping, gathering, and networking and which also are not bookstores. She is ever more convinced that diversifying sales channels beyond bookstores and national chains is the key to success in today’s publishing marketplace. Prior to joining the Quarto Group, Nichole worked for seven years at “The Good Neighbor” (WCCO 830 AM) in sales promotion and four years at Minnesota Monthly as an event manager. She fell into publishing by accident and hasn’t looked back since.


Erik Gilg is the group publisher at Quarto Minneapolis, home to Burgess Lea Press, Cool Springs Press, Motorbooks, Voyageur Press, and Young Voyageur, which combined publishes over a hundred new titles per year. Prior to moving to Minneapolis, he worked as an acquisitions editor at Macmillan in NYC. He is an incorrigible capitalist who would love to see all the books he publishes be sold in every store in America.


Open Book, Target Auditorium
1011 Washington Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55415 United States
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