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Mystery May: Fall in Love with a Great Book

Posted by Liz Schulte on 5/1/17 5:30 AM
Topics: bookstore events, MBS Monthly Marketing Plans, Bookstore marketing

You don’t need to live at 221B Baker Street to love a good mystery. As the semester winds to a close, it is a busy time for everyone on campus. Keep this month’s event simple, engaging and easy to manage with one or all of these ideas for a terrific Mystery May event designed to bring people into your store without taking up a lot of time.

Mystery May: Monthly Marketing Plan

Blind date with a book

Download: Mystery May Marketing Kit
Bracket Battlee
Download Kit

Before students leave for the summer, help them choose some great books to take with them. Ask the staff to each choose a couple of their favorite titles in the store and wrap the books in paper. Write a personal ad for the main character on the provided mock-newspaper ad or directly on the paper covering the book, sharing any information you want (genre, tone, etc.). However, do not identify the book.

Set up a display (check out our Pinterest board for display ideas). Promote on social media channels and with signs in the store and around campus. Just in case the prospect of getting a new book isn’t reason enough to come into the store, consider a small contest. For the person who can correctly identify the most titles from the descriptions, give away a gift card or t-shirt.

Examples of literary personals:

Lonely and rich seeks to recreate the past: I throw a great party, old sport, though you may never see me at one. In a time and place where true love doesn’t conquer all, I am steadfast in my adoration — even if it’s from afar. My favorite flower is a daisy and my favorite color is green.” The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; classic fiction.

Tight-lipped bootlegger seeks moll: Gas station owner and bootlegger, the story of my family can only be described as fantastic. Local rumors suggested I couldn’t die — there were times I believed them, having survived multiple attempts on my life. Our story may read like fiction, but in the end, it’s all true.” The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant; nonfiction.

Ambivalent businessman seeks ways to feel: If I had a tumor, I’d name it Marla. The droning monotony of my life leaves me nameless, faceless, trudging through the world unable to sleep until Tyler comes into my life. Now adventure, blood and the feel of another man’s face giving way to my fist fills me.” Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk; fiction.  

Other mystery events for May:

Mystery grab bags

Take old merchandise and make mystery grab bags. Fill a bag with a mixture of goodies and sell them for one low price. Share teasers on social media and display the bags next to the cash register to capitalize on impulse buys during buyback. Use this opportunity to make one last push to clear out inventory before the end of the semester.

Clue game night

The end of the semester can be stressful time, especially students. With finals coming up, students might like a nice study break. Host a Clue game night or just set out the board games for the students to play.

Social media marketing plan

Use any or all of the social media platforms you have (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.) to help promote this event.

 Pro tip: Plan ahead

Schedule posts for an entire week so you don’t have to worry about posting daily. It will save you time. Post about the event three times a day. Once in the morning, once before lunch and once in late afternoon.  



A picture of one of the wrapped books with the legible personal ad written on it (a different book should be pictured each day).



Use these posts or create three of your own. They should vary from day to day, but the idea will remain the same. Include a funny meme about reading with the final post or a link to your store blog. Personalize the posts as much as you like, but use the same hashtags on all the social media platforms. Hashtags make the event easier to follow because they are searchable and they make your post visible to a wider audience than just the people who follow the store.

 Pro tip: Social media hack

If you keep all of your posts less than 140 characters, you can use them across all platforms.

The event

  1. Have staff select at least two of their favorite books and write personal ads for the main characters. Ads are best at selling the story when they give away enough to be intriguing, match the tone of the book and are easily identifiable to others who have read it
  2. Set up an eye-catching display
  3. Post flyers around campus
  4. Schedule social media posts

That’s it. With four easy steps, you have an event ready to go.

Featuring a range of in-store events and online promotions, our customizable  marketing plans come with step-by-step instructions to help you increase  customer loyalty and drive interaction. Check Them Out

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