Friday 20 June 2014

Costco for book-signings?

According to the BBC, Hillary Clinton signed copies of her new memoir at Costco last weekend, one of the many high-profile authors who now stop at the warehouse on their book tour.

The visits underscore the role of Costco as tastemaker in the book world (!). Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (i.e. "Ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do") has been featured in Costco Connection.

Moreover, Gladwell and other authors like Tom Wolfe are also regular customers, for whom Costco is a place to hang out….

A small but influential market share?
Publishers Weekly say about 4% of books sales in the US are from Costco, Target and Kmart. The biggest share of the market, about 28%, is from Amazon.

Whilst their book-share is minimal, our normal perception of Costco as a place ‘to shift tons’ may cause us to miss their potential in terms of influencing behaviour, especially when their store traffic could contain a high proportion of deal-sensitive shoppers that are prepared to tell others about good deal availability on popular products.

In other words, this Costco book-signing ‘little thing’ could be part of a tipping-point process that accelerates consumer acceptance of discounters..

Time for Costco NAMs to consider Costco as a market-influencer of the mass market rather than simply a quick-fix for sales budget short-falls?

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