Book Marketing: Friendlier, More Comfortable

Besides, these new bookshops also offer competitive prices. QB, for example, can give a discount of up to 20 percent for best-seller books, twice the amount of conventional bookshops.

With growing competition from the new players, established bookstore operators like Gramedia and Gunung Agung cannot afford to relax. In a way, Gramedia has also adopted a one-stop shopping concept in several of its spacious outlets such as in Matraman, East Jakarta. The only difference lies in the management pattern.

In the new bookstores, the restaurants or cafes are usually owned by the bookshop owners, but in the case of Gramedia, the restaurants or cafes are provided by other companies. Gramedia leases out the space.

Gramedia, like the new bookshops, also sells non-book items. Just go to the first floor of the Gramedia bookshop in Matraman. There you can find many wares including sports equipment, bags, souvenirs, computer printers and even musical instruments. So, if you come to this bookshop, you don’t necessarily come to buy books. Perhaps you want to buy a badminton racket or a guitar.

What about Gunung Agung? Established over half a century ago, Gunung Agung also keeps rejuvenating itself. One of the strategies that this chain has adopted is to reposition its target market. Gunung Agung has 32 outlets in Java and Bali. These bookshops can be found in shopping malls or as stand-alone stores with different demographic and target markets.

Every bookshop operated by the bookstore chain has a different target market. Gunung Agung in Pondok Indah Mall is quite different from the one in Arion Plaza in terms of the shop and merchandising concept. Both are located in Jakarta but their target markets are quite different. Gunung Agung in Pondok Indah Mall targets children, teenagers and young professionals as its main buyers while Gunung Agung in Arion Plaza targets office workers.

Once these people have a good image about Gunung Agung, they will frequent the bookshop even when they become adolescents and have their own children later. Once an emotional tie is established between Gunung Agung and people, the hope is that they will also take their family members to shop there.

Gunung Agung has worked hard to change its image as a serious bookstore and tries to make itself appear welcoming for their target market. That’s why this bookshop has carried out various attractive promotional programs such as book discussions, author book signings, story-telling, and product demos. It also offers competitive prices.

In addition, Gunung Agung has also improved its service to its customers. The bookstore not only shows hospitality to its visitors but it also sells quality goods and provides comfort inside. Other things that this bookstore has done is to display its wares correctly, arranging merchandising in such a way that they create an attractive visual effect.

All these different marketing models are but competitive efforts to pamper consumers. It is the only way that bookshops can stay relevant and thus survive. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, March 15, 2005

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