Why author Zibby Owens wants you to visit 22 bookstores in 2022


Author and Moms don’t have time to read books podcaster Zibby Owens wants you to visit 22 bookstores in 2022 – and yes, she means physically visit, not just browse or buy online. Owens’ mission with her Campaign 22 in 22 is designed to increase bookstore sales and generate more traffic throughout the year, as well as to foster a stronger community of book readers and book lovers.

Owens, mother of four and founder of Zibby Books, got the idea earlier this year while multitasking on a marketing call, walking her dog in Manhattan on the way to pick up her two youngest children from school. Owens was thinking about how best to involve Book Ambassadors to help market his publishing house, which has a profit-sharing model, when she thought, “Wait, that wouldn’t be cool if …”

Put simply, according to Owens, the campaign “consists of a whole host of incentives offered to participants when they visit 22 bookstores in 2022. It’s the simplest New Year’s resolution, the one you can get. To keep ! To participate, people can visit 22in22.net, click “I’m in” and enter some basic personal information. Then, after each bookstore visit, they come back to the site and record the visit, becoming eligible to win prizes based on the number of visits, ranging from bookmarks and private Zoom communities to a chance to win $ 500 shopping. of books.

When asked about the campaign’s goal, Owens said it was just “to get people back to bookstores.” Yes, it’s efficient and easy to order online. But there is nothing like being in a bookstore and discovering something you never would have found [and] the feeling of possibility when you pick up a new book, switch to the cover and say, “Yes! I need this book! ‘ Plus, there’s a community element of being surrounded by book lovers, something we’ve lost in times of a pandemic. “

Owens says this is a particularly important time to support physical bookstores, because “bookstores have been hit hard by the pandemic as people stay at home instead of venturing out. While book sales are on the rise, what about all those little stores across the country that depend on community support? And what about all those new authors and books just waiting on shelves and tables to be brought home like Corduroy the stuffed animal just perched on the shelf? ”

Owens believes in the transformative power of living a bookstore the way its owners intended, browsing displays, touching and holding books like physical objects. She notes the attractiveness of in-person book purchases, saying, “If people just walked into a bookstore, they would be drawn to the abundance of books and would be much more likely to buy a book than they would. they did not enter. a. It’s hard to resist the allure of a promising new novel, memoir, biography, business book, or anything else.

Owens received a great reception for the campaign concept in bookstores, based on the campaign’s smooth launch on Small Business Saturdays in November. She says stores were “over the moon grateful,” and many reached out to join the campaign. (Interested bookstores can email [email protected] for more details.) Owens and his team sent out personalized social media posts for each bookstore, added store logos to the 22 in ‘website. 22 and provided printable poster designs for bookstore owners and display.

Owens says bookstores have played a “huge role” in his personal and professional life, calling visiting bookstores “literally my favorite thing to do if I have free time.” She enjoys taking her children, now that they are all vaccinated against COVID-19, to bookstores “and pass on my joy to them to read”, which her own parents did by taking Owens to libraries as a child. . Some of her favorite local New York bookstores to visit are Shakespeare & Co. in Manhattan, Corner Bookstore and The Strand, as well as Books are Magic and the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, as well as BookHampton in East Hampton.

Beyond New York, Owens enjoys Diesel, Book Soup, and Pages: A Bookstore in the Los Angeles area, and looks forward to visiting Parnassus Books in Nashville, co-owned by author Ann Patchett, as well as The Tattered Cover. in Denver, for the first time in 2022.

Owens is the editor of two anthologies, Moms don’t have time for: a quarantine anthology and Moms don’t have time to have children: a timeless anthology (both Skyhorse editions). Two of his own titles are published in 2022, a children’s book, Charming princess (Flamingo Books), illustrated by Holly Hatam, and a dissertation, Bookends: A Memory of Love, Loss and Literature (Petit A), which she can’t wait to promote with bookstore events. As for the future, Owens says she “always wanted to own a bookstore myself” and plans to do pop-ups in 2022 and 2023.

When asked what 22 in ’22 campaign participants can gain by visiting so many bookstores, aside from the prices, Owens said that “the real benefit is the experience of being inside the bookstore. ‘a bookstore many times’ as well as to create a community of book lovers. “It’s something we can all do together, even when we’re all apart. It is a joint effort, a team effort to help something that is close to our hearts. It helps us think about others: the owners and employees of the bookstores, the authors who write the books, the whole team, the editors, everyone. Owens praised those who work in a variety of capacities to put books on bookstore shelves who “go out of their way to bring us stories that will transport us, teach us, educate us and delight us.” It will make us all feel good and we will feel a sense of accomplishment as we record each visit and work towards our goal. It feels good to focus on something and then achieve it. “

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