Book readings aren’t just for book stores or libraries! Your retail shop or café would be the perfect location for intimate book readings.

Connect with a local author and your community by hosting one this month! Not only will you be seen as a supporter of the local arts, but will invite a potentially different type of customer (students, families, artists) into your location for an evening.


Before you get to planning, ask yourself: “Would our regular customers be interested in / enjoy attending a book reading?” If so, plan away! If not, and this type of event wouldn’t align with your brand, that’s ok – check out some of our other In-Store Events to find the one that’s right for you and your business!

Ok, back to the book reading… while the event is relatively easy to pull off, make sure you treat it like an official event, not just something you threw together. Here are a few tips:

  • Find local authors by posting information on your website, via social media or in-store using signs. Talk up the idea to you customers! Check out the art event listing in your local paper, or visit the websites of local bookstores for to see if there are any local authors “making the rounds” to promote their newest book.
  • Offer specials for your customers: discounts, free samples, light appetizers, etc.
  • Check out your local weekly events paper to take out an ad, as they may print art event ads for free!

A coffee shop is the obvious choice for a book reading – it’s a little quieter with ample seating. But, you could easily host a reading in a retail store or small bar / lounge. Whatever type of business you own, ensure there are light refreshments on hand for your guests (even something as simple as hot coffee and cookies will do), that there is plenty of seating for guests, and that you have an “emcee” dedicated to keeping the night organized and professional. As a book reading will typically last longer (and require a longer attention span from your guests) than a poetry reading or live music, ensure that you organize the night accordingly, with breaks and a question and answer session.

Remember, this might be the first time a local author has read his / her work aloud, so you want to make them feel as special as possible.

Also see In-Store Events: Parties for a detailed Planning Timeline to help.

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