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corner corner Creating an OBCZ

How to Market Your Business with BookCrossing OBCZ's

by yvi-1
June 15, 2004

Do you want to draw avid readers into your store? If you do, set up an Official Book Crossing Zone (OBCZ) at www.BookCrossing.com and you just might see an increase in traffic as well as an increase in sales! Readers like to buy books, sit around and read and perhaps eat, and like to talk to other readers. So if your business would benefit from having free books available for customers to read, you just might want to set up an OBCZ. There are a few simple steps and then you are on your way!

Setting up an Offical BookCrossing Zone isn't very different than simply releasing a book. When you go to release the book, you set up a new crossing zone, and voila you've got a new zone that you will make "official". Here's how.

1. Get yourself a new BookCrossing ID that has to do with your store. This will make things easier when sorting which books are on your shelf and which are in the box at the store.

2. Get your OBCZ site ready! Get a nice sturdy box or table and a bunch of registered books. Put up a sign. You can find a snazzy sign at: http://www.bookcrossing.com/promote . Make sure the book box is readily viewable and offers an array of books. Perhaps print out some of the pamphlets that can be found on the BookCrossing site, or one that I made to fit on one page and be tri-fold: http://www.crustytapioca.com/books/ .

3. Get the registered books in front of you at the computer. Start to release. On the first book you release, you are going to create your OBCZ. When you get to the second release screen, the one that is for crossing zones, you need to create one.

4. So choose your Country, State or Region, City. Your OBCZ will not be listed in the list of available crossing zones in that city. Create a new one. Name it whatever your business name is and perhaps add "OBCZ" at the end to make it obvious. Now the OBCZ is added. Select it from the list and finish releasing your first book.

5. Release every other book for your OBCZ, choosing your OBCZ from the shortcut list (now that you have created and released one book to your OBCZ, it will show up in the shortcut).

Place all the registered books in the box at your place of business and watch the people come in. The books you release will show up in the "Go Hunting" pages and will also show up in e-mail for anyone who has release alerts in your city. This should help attract customers.

Make sure that you keep your box stocked with books and that you have information about BookCrossing handy for newbies. Also make sure you have some pre-numbered labels around for people who bring in unregistered books. Have them write down the BCID and then journal the book when they go home.

To advertise your OBCZ and store even more, you might invest in a custom stamp that has the name of your store on it as well as information about bookcrossing. I've made all my custom stamps at http://www.officedepot.com (under custom printing). They are inexpensive and they work well. You can then stamp every book that is dropped off at your store and it will be forever labeled as having passed through the store.

You might also design some business cards that have your business name on it and some information on BookCrossing (just like the stamp). You can give these out to people who are interested in BookCrossing but didn't find a book they wanted, or for those that need to write down the BCID, or as a bookmark. You are both advertising your business and BookCrossing. I have found that the new Avery Clean Edge Business Cards are quite good for this. You can print them out yourself. They use template 8873 and since the edges aren't preforated, they look very professional. You can find those on http://www.officedepot.com (no I don't own stock in them!).

Good luck and good reading!


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