We have the best community in the whole wide world right here at Murphy's. Some of you guys have been following me for years and some of you are just now part of what we are doing.
The t-shirt campaign we did went so well that we want to do another one. Except that this time we want to try something new.
It will not be a surprise to many of you that I have a very limited skillset. I'm relatively good at writing you guys emails that can sometimes make you giggle and make you remember to come and shop at my store. And I'm decent at selling books.
You might not know this though... the last job I had before I dropped out of grad school to work on my business was washing windows.
And I got fired for being VERY bad at it.
So... what are the chances that I will be able to design a bunch of really cool shirts you guys would love?
Instead, why not make it a contest?
So, here's what we are going to do. From now until March 8th at midnight we are accepting designs for two different categories of merchandise.
T-shirts and bumper stickers.
Then the community as a whole will choose the winners.
The winners get $100 in cash (or $200 in store credit) along with 10% of the sales of winning products during the launch campaign.
Here is what we need you to do. If you are interested in being part of the design contest you can join the Merch Mastermind here. It is totally free and is a community forum just for you guys.
If you just want to jump in and see what everyone else is doing and give ideas you can join too.
The big rule is be nice :)
If you have any questions.... join the community and ask them there!
So, my team here at Murphy's has been raving about a book, but I hadn't gotten around to reading it until I saw everyone going nuts about it on Netflix.
Being that the book is super popular, we didn't have any copies at the store, so I bought one from Amazon. (Which is honestly the only time it is ok... You have to check the bookstore first.)
The book is called Bird Box, and you can find it here.
It is post apocalyptic, which is something I super fancy, and to me what makes it extra terrifying is the kids. Kids in creepy stories always make the stakes higher in my opinion.
Also, what makes something the creepiest is when it is unseen. When we have an idea of something terrifying, but it's just out of the corner of our eyes, or on the other side of our blindfold. :)
The author does a great job of this, and I am definitely going to be checking out his other work
So if you are looking to see what all the fuss is about, you can check it out.
If you know much about me, then you probably guessed that I listened to the audiobook, which was deeply DEEPLY unsettling.
I have two different kinds of audiobooks that I listen to.
#1 For chores and driving... general life stuff.
#2 For laying in bed before I fall asleep.
This was definitely NOT a #2 kind of book.
If you get the book, let me know what you think.
P.S. I should give you guys a disclaimer, any of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means the store gets a little bit of money if you buy on Amazon through them.
I'd love to sell you guys copies of Bird Box here, but we haven't seen any yet. This is another way to support what we are doing without actually having to put on pants and brave the cold if you don't want to.
Together with my very good friend and fellow bookseller Sarah Jankowski, I am thinking about starting a podcast tangentially about books and bookstores. I've uploaded a demo that we recorded and I want you guys to take a listen and let us know what you think.
The best way to talk about it with us is in the Facebook group, Dayton Book Lovers.
You can join us here.
As always, thanks so much for all of your support.
We have a new customer loyalty program that is the absolute Bees Knees :) You are going to get a free book just for joining, but that is just the beginning.
There are three other ways to get free books using the new program.
But before we get to that, make sure you watch the video on this post to check out how to join from your phone :)
#1 Buying Books Like Always
This is a no brainer. To incentivize you guys even more to come hang out with us at the store every dollar that you spend at Murphy's is worth 5 points in our new rewards program. There are different reward tiers you can learn about here, but the more you spend, the more rewards you are eligible for.
#2 Checking In At The Store
Once you are a member of the loyalty program you can check in at the store to win prizes with just your phone number. No purchase required. There are all kinds of prizes you can win, just by checking in at the store including a $100 shopping spree :)
Checking in at the store is also how we are going to be doing all of our in store contests as well.
#3 Referring Your Friends
The feature I'm the most excited about is the ability to go into your customer portal and grab your personal link and post about the program to your friends. If they go through your link, set up an account and check in at Murphy's, you both get $5 in store credit!!!
This is going to be the thing that we think will really move the needle for us. We already know that we have the best community in the wide world, but now we can finally give back to you guys for helping get the word out there.
Once they are signed up and come into the store we can take it from there :)
In each of your new customer accounts there is also a wallet. That is where your rewards will go as well as store credit earned from buybacks. (No more using those business cards to write the store credit amounts on...
I know we are all busy and not everyone has the ability to make to the bookstore as often as they would like. Although, it couldn't hurt to come see us more often :)
But if you haven't heard I've been working really hard on a brand new opportunity for people that want to have access to books for the kids in their life and also make a difference in their communities.
We are rolling out our Books By The Box subscription program on Cratejoy. For now it is all only kids books but we will expand that in the future. We are so excited to finally roll this out for all over the country and we need your help to get the word out :)
Click here to learn more about our new book subscription program. As a bonus for those that subscribe you get access to something that my five year old daughter and I built together called Syd's Kid's Corner.
It is the safest space on the internet for kids and parents together to help build and nourish a love for reading and art for young kids and the people that love them. Over the next several months we will be building this community together, but you can only join by clicking here and being a founding member of our subscription book box program.
But you have to act soon. Orders have to be placed by midnight on May 31st to get in for June's shipment and to be part of Syd's Kid's Corner.
We have been working towards this for a long time, even before I even knew where this would end up. There was a bit of a beta test awhile ago to work the kinks out of the subscription service. I can't wait for you to join us and build something amazing for communities all over the country.
Thank you so much for believing in us :)
Hey guys, your friendly neighborhood bookstore manager here to let you all in on the news that we're extending our hours! Starting Monday, April 9th, Murphy's Used Books and Media will be open Monday through Thursday 10am until 8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am until 9pm, and Sunday 11am until 5pm. We hope to see you here soon. And if you haven't stopped in to see what we're all about here at Murphy's we just know you'll fall in love after your first visit. Click here to sign up for our email list and get a coupon code for a free book! (Free book code good for one free item valued at $3 or less; not valid with any other offer; one discount code per person, per transaction, per day.)
If you have been to our bookstore then you know that most of the books that we put on our shelves are ones that come in the front door from members of the community. We never know what we are going to get from day to day and that is part of the fun.
We offer store credit for books that you guys bring us, and we are pretty sure that we have the best deal in town. (We love books as much as you do, and we've done the rounds.)
It is a pretty great feeling to see a family come into the store with an armload of books that have been sitting unread on a shelf and leave with new treasures.
We have a pretty huge selection as of now, but we are working on expanding soon and we need even more of you to bring in your books for us.
So we got to thinking...
Contests and events are kind of our thing. So we have decided that every month we are going to choose one buyback transaction receipt at random and give out $100 in store credit to the winner.
(I get it. If you are reading this and are getting flustered thinking about getting rid of any of your darlings, don't worry. This is a good thing for you too, because all of these people that don't treat their books as members of the family are going to be bringing them in for you to come and buy. It's the circle of life.)
Either way, come on out to Murphy's today and see the best new place in the Dayton area for books.
Once upon a time, teachers used classics like Dick and Jane to teach literacy to students. Dick and Jane were revered at the time for their relatable stories and simple literary structure. D & J were living simple lives other children could understand, and the pacing of their stories was slow enough for even the most beginning readers. Dick and Jane worked. Sort of.
There was a problem with the D & J books. They weren't exciting. They lived normal lives, and their books progressed at a glacial pace. For many young children, the feeling was this: There's nowhere to go from here. Reading is just not that fun.
Dr. Seuss' Challenge
Theodor Seuss Geisel, who we know as Dr. Seuss, was working as a writer and illustrator in 1957 when he was contacted by Houghton Mifflin's textbook division. They asked him to create a book that "first graders can't put down." The publisher gave him a list of 348 words that could be used in the text, then gave him creative freedom to write about and illustrate whatever he wanted.
The end result was The Cat in the Hat. It took Dr. Seuss a full year to write The Cat, as he poured over every lovingly written word. Published in May 1957, The Cat in the Hat sold 2 million copies in the first four years.
Almost overnight, Dr. Seuss changed children's literature forever. The gleeful, unbridled chaos of the story was catchy, fun to read, appropriate for beginning readers and used many of the same words found in the Dick and Jane series. In later books, Dr. Seuss expanded his repertoire. His books taught moral lessons to children. They developed character. They expanded the imagination.
Publishers Weekly reports that The Cat has been translated to 18 languages and continues to sell at an average rate of 500,000 books annually. Even after all these years, Dr. Seuss books continue to sell...
According to former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.”
I completely agree! Your imagination can change the world. And flexing that muscle through reading books is crucial for all of us, but especially kids.
So how do we get our kids to love books? Equip your preschoolers with early literacy and a love of learning as you encourage reading in the following fun ways.
1. Let Your Kids Choose the Book
Whether your child is into dinosaurs, cars or princesses, let her browse the selection at your local bookstore or library. Like you, she’s more likely to want to read if she’s interested in the book’s subject. We think owning books is important for kids. They make books for kids about everything under the sun. I'm sure your little one can find something that gets her excited.
2. Add Expression
Turn any story into an entertaining and engaging experience with expression, energy and drama. Let loose, get silly and make sounds, use an accent and sing as you show your kids that reading is fun. My daughter loves me to read The Magic Treehouse books to her before bed, and she says that the voices are half the fun.
3. Encourage Pretend Reading
Sometimes, I skip the printed words and make up a story based on the pictures. My daughter gets a kick out of our silliness, and I’ve caught her pretending to read books to her stuffed animal friends. Imagination is the key. And priming them to relate good experiences with books as much as possible is how we have the best chance to get that to stick for them.
4. Put on a Play
If your child likes to play dress-up, act out her favorite children’s books. Include props and costumes, invite friends and bring your child’s favorite stories to life.
5. Attend Library or...
The First One is on Us :)