One of the most enjoyable aspects of the move was our secret preparation for Operation Book Drop. The Book Drop was a conceived as a publicity campaign by the extra creative guys at Super Top Secret, our marketing firm. The idea was to gather a lot of books, create eye catching and informative jackets for them, and covertly drop them throughout the City. This would not only draw attention to our relocation and our new web site, it would proclaim our love of books and reading in a fun way that would draw in the members of our community - not preach to them. Tony has a history of guerrilla art projects and I'm a born subversive, so we loved the idea.
The amazing artists at STS created seven jackets for the projects. Each jacket embodies ideas about books that we hold dear and firmly believe: books make you smarter, books are important to individuals and the cultures in which they live, books are entertaining and pleasing in very tangible ways, booksellers still have a meaningful role in this modern world, locally owned businesses make our communities better places to live.
The second part of the project's preparation was procuring the books themselves. We approached publishers we identified as producers of quality books that are nicely packaged and staffed with people who could think outside the box. Six of them partnered with us, donating nearly 900 books to the cause. They are Alognquin, Chronicle Books, FSG, Gibbs Smith, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, and W.W. Norton. All of them deserve kudos for believing in bricks and mortar bookstores and the people they serve -- and for backing up that belief with action.
At last we got to the real fun. Tony mapped a five mile radius around our new location in Trolley Square. Then he identified hot spots within the radius. Finally, he broke the area into zones and assigned teams of two to five people to each zone. After we closed on January 8th we had a wrapping party at the store. Eight people spent about 3 hours admiring the jackets and wrapping books. The night after we sorted the books, split into teams, and went off into the night to distribute the gift of reading to the community. It was a blast.
You can see the page on our new site devoted to the book drop here. It shows the jackets and lists the books. If you got a book, let us know. We'd love to hear what you think.