The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Biz Books moves to online-only operation June 30, 2010

Filed under: Business of Arts,Business relationships,E-book,Life — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:16 am
Tags:

Last week I got a very sad phone call from Cat at Biz Books.

She had made a very difficult decision. She had decided to close Biz’ storefront operation, and to make it be an online store only.

My relationship with Biz Books goes back at least 10 years. One of my very first publicity gigs was for an all-female version of Glengarry Glen Ross, and I remember seeing an ad for Biz in the program, and the producer handing me a card with the name “Bronwen Smith” on it.

A couple years later, Bronwen was cast in a play I was producing and acting in, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and today, she is part of my inner circle of friends. I have been jealous of Bron’s job as the manager at Biz since I can remember–what a perfect job for an actor–but now she’ll have to figure out what’s next for her.

Bronwen helps to hype up my book at Biz

I remember their old location in the super dodgy part of E Cordova, with the theatre space right next door, and being so happy for them when they got their new, current location on the corner of Cordova and Cambie.

Cat and Bronwen and the gang at Biz did more for our film and theatre community than just supply us with audition monologues and copies of the plays that the Arts Club was doing this year. Biz was a central hub in our community. There was seldom a time when I’d drop in when there wasn’t someone there I knew, or someone would come by that I knew. They ran workshops, hosted parties (remember Harry Potter releases?), and employed some of the city’s finest actors while they were building a career.

Cat has been incredibly supportive of my own work, hosting a free social media workshop, and selling copies of my book.

While the show will go on on line, I for one will miss dropping into the store to pick up a book, or just to say “hi” to the gang.

Thanks, Cat, Bron, Carrie, Spence, Brian, T, Mel, Shane and Carol.

Here is Cat’s official announcement:

After almost 14 years of being a physical hub for Vancouver’s film, television and theatre communities, we at Biz Books have decided to close our Cordova Street doors and focus on the window to the world that is the internet.

With all of the many changes in filmmaking, television creation and theatre production… not to mention book selling, it has become apparent to us that we need to refocus ourselves on providing you fast, cost effective access to the best and newest resources available and not to be distracted by maintaining a brick and mortar store. Over these past 14 years, the collective efforts of some of Vancouver’s best and brightest actors and writers have come together to build the 10,000 strong Biz Books community. We have loved your visits, support and patronage, and thank you for that and hope that it will follow us to our online store where we plan to continue.

What is changing?

We are closing 302 West Cordova Street on August 15th. We will then be conducting all of our business from our online home at http://www.bizbooks.net

What will continue?

The many things you love about Biz Books will continue on BizBooks.net. Our efforts to bring you the latest and greatest in the areas of film, television and theatre as well as our active role in bringing you the classes, workshops, book launches, author readings, events and contests that you have come to appreciate from our variety of industry partners and presenters.

Where are we going?

We will still be based in the Greater Vancouver area but will not be maintaining a retail space. We will continue to grow our stock levels so that fast local shipping and our presence at many local classes and events will provide you great access to books and software.

Why now?

With all the many changes to Gastown we have been hearing from customers about the challenges they face in coming to see us. Looking towards the future, we do not see those challenges getting any easier or the costs for maintaining a retail space in this neighbourhood (or frankly any in the Lower Mainland) being at a level that any independent bookseller could shoulder, much less one whose customers have had such a challenging few years keeping themselves going.

What about the staff?

Over the years, Biz Books has been so very fortunate to have had the time and talent of so many great people focused on building it. It is with a heavy heart we realize that we will no longer be able to provide regular access to the incredible knowledge of Bronwen Smith, Jennifer Spence, Carrie Ruscheinsky, Teresa Weir, Melanie Walden, Brian Sutton, Carol Hodge and Shane Kolmansberger. We know that they are a huge reason that we have gained the support of so many of you and thank them, with special appreciation to Bronwen for her incredible efforts during her time at Biz (How could we ever sum up her 13 years!?!?), and we wish them all well with their future endeavours. They were the heart of Biz on Cordova Street and they will always be in mine.

We also want to recognize the contribution of the group we lovingly refer to as the “Biz Books Alumni”: Patricia (without whom we would have never opened!), Harlan, Kyle, Cam, Eileen, Jason, Alexa, Gillian, Sydney, Daniel, Melanie, Alana, Jane, Kristin, John, Stacie and Jazmin.

And while we are thanking people… Dave at Webbervision, Ian at Atomic Fez, Rebecca at Rebecca Coleman Marketing and Media Relations, Jasper at NovaCurrent Creative Solutions, David Cowan, our computer genius, my fantastic in-laws Herm & Shirley (for building all of the beautiful wood fixtures that helped to create such a cozy atmosphere here) and our wonderful landlords JP & Barbara… thank you so very much for all of your support over the years and for your kind wishes for us on our new phase.

We are planning a sale to start on July 2nd (we will of course be closed for Canada Day July 1st!) so stay tuned for more details on that and also, please use your gift cards before August 14th or bring them by to have them converted for use on our online store – again before August 14th!

And now the invitation part….

Our last day of operation on Cordova Street will be Saturday, August 14th and we are planning on it being a celebration so we invite you to come by for our BizBooks.net Going-Online Party!

Thanks for 14 great years on Cordova Street and we’ll see you out and about at events in the community and of course, at BizBooks.net!

Cat

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Advertisements
 

E-newsletters November 7, 2008

I probably don’t need to sell you on the idea of having a newsletter. I’m pretty sure you’re already aware of the relationship-building potential of having a newsletter for your theatre company or arts-based business. I don’t like the hard sell, so I like newsletters. My favorite one is published by the good people over at Biz Books. It’s not a hard sell–it’s just about putting the information out there in a really accessible, easy-to-read format. The free ticket giveaways are a bonus (everyone likes getting stuff for free).

imagesThe purpose of this post is give you some e-newsletter options. Not too many people are doing hard-copy newsletters these days. The price of layout, printing and stamps is formidable if your list is over 100, and there are lots of great programs out there that can do the online equivalent for just pennies per click.

So, why not just send out a formatted email? A couple of reasons. First off, your email might get tagged as spam, and then it never gets to your client’s inbox. Second, different email platforms view things differently, so your fonts, photos and links might come out all screwy (yes, that’s a technical term).

E-newsletter software circumvents all that. What you see in the program is what your clients will see in their inbox. Comforting to know when you’ve just spent 6 hours laying it out and writing the perfect copy, no?

Secondly, E-newsletter software handles all your database issues. If you have a database of email addresses, every time one bounces, you have to go in and remove it. Every time someone unsubscribes, you have to go in and remove it. The software takes care of all that for you, and more besides: it can also track your opening statistics (ie: it can tell you how many of your emails were opened, and how many were not).

Here’s a list of the top E-newsletter software out there right now, and their pros and cons.

Constant Contact is the industry leader. There’s a few reasons for that. First off, they offer a 60-day trial period, longer than any of the other softwares out there. Second, they have excellent customer service. The day after I signed up for my free trial, I got a call from some guy in Minneapolis (or some place like that) called James, asking if I had any questions. They worked for my business. Third, they offer a 30% discount for non-profits.

Constant Contact has good templates, and the interface is pretty easy to use. You can drag and drop boxes to add more, or just hit delete to make them go away. I have had some challenges changing nitty-gritty details, like background colours.

IContact: is also really big. If you have a small mailing list, like around 500, it’s a bit cheaper. Their trial is only 15 days. They also have a cool feature where you can archive your newsletter to your website (check out Biz Books). Even though they say they have more templates than Constant Contact, I found them to be harder to access. Overall, I think they create cleaner-looking newsletters than Constant Contact, and I really like that.

Mail Chimp: If you are just getting started, and you have a small mailing list, I’d start with Mail Chimp. It works more like a pay-as-you-go cel phone, whereas the others work on monthly fees. Mail Chimp does credits. You start with 600 for free, and every time you send an email, it costs you a credit. You can buy more as you go along, or you can go to a monthly fee. Overall, the templates and interface are very useable, and it has a sense of humour that I really appreciate.

if you are in the market, there are a few more: Blue Sky Factory, Member Clicks, and Vertical Response, which offers deep discounts to not-for-profits.

A couple of my clients have asked me about Canadian E-newsletter software, so that they don’t have to pay the exchange on the dollar. The only one I found, based out of Kelowna, E-Newsletter Software, charges in American dollars!

It’s a big world out there, with lots of choices. So, if you are considering going E- with your newsletter, sign yourself up for some free trials, and have some fun experimenting with the software.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook