Preschool Book Fair
This post is for team members on how to run a preschool book fair with Usborne Books & More. If you’re interested in having a book fair at your preschool, head over to Becky’s Book Corner to learn more.
Book lady confession: I LOVE PRESCHOOL BOOK FAIRS. For real. To watch preschool faces light up when they see the book fair set up is simply the best. Whether you have been in this business for a few weeks or a few years, you CAN do a preschool book fair. You don’t even “need” a ton of inventory on hand to make it work. While this training video is longer than most of my videos, a preschool book fair isn’t super complex. It’s fun and easy! Ready to dive in?
Setting a Meeting
Getting in the door can be the hardest part of this process. Preschool directors are busy. Plan to be diligent with your follow up and set aside your fears of making the phone call.
- Try to find a connection to the preschool. Do your kids go there? Your friend’s kids?
- Do your homework. Go to the preschool’s website. Get an idea of the age of their students, how large the school might be, take a peek at their school calendar for upcoming events, look up the names of the staff members.
- Make the phone call to the preschool director. Ahhh… scary, right?! You can do it. Simply introduce yourself: “Hi Preschool Director! This is Becky Launder, my friend Erin referred me your way. I work with Usborne Books & More. Have you heard of Usborne before?”
- If they are familiar with Usborne, make sure to ask if they have a team member that they are working with on their preschool book fair. If they are, find another preschool to contact. If they haven’t heard of Usborne Let the conversation flow from there.
Yay! You have a meeting set! Now, let’s get prepared! Know your goal. You want to walk away from the meeting with dates set for the preschool book fair so make sure you know your availability.
- Look professional and bring a tote bag of your favorite preschool books.
- I also recommend brining a preschool book fair packet. The packet can be simple. Plan to include a full catalog, business card and any promotional materials about what we offer.
- During the meeting, be sure to introduce yourself, thank the director for her time, provide a quick overview of Usborne Books & More, share the different programs we offer (CFAC, Literacy for a Lifetime, RFTS and of course – book fairs! Emphasize the 50% back in free books and the opportunity for the teachers to make a wish list for their class! Most preschool directors are most excited about that.
- Let them get their hands on the books. Pass them the books that you’ve brought with you and let them fall in love with each title as they flip through the pages.
- Ask some questions: Are you currently running a book fair? When do you have the most parent traffic (pick up and drop off times, upcoming family events)? Where would be the best space to set up a book fair? How many students are enrolled? What are their ages? How many classrooms do you have?
- Set a date. Seal the deal by asking when the best time would be to schedule an upcoming preschool book fair.
- Thank the director for her time and offer her a book of her choice from your tote bag as a token of your appreciation!
Book Fair Prep
Getting ready for the book fair is an important part of your planning process.
- Provide your preschool with catalogs to easily create wish lists. Make sure they have the wish lists prepared for you before the start of the book fair.
- Create fun parent letters announcing the book fair hours and instructions to shop online to send home with the preschoolers. Also, provide the school with flyers that can be posted on the doors of the classrooms or bulletin boards reminding parents about the book fair.
- Consider setting up a small display of books to keep in the school’s lobby or near the check in and out sheets to generate excitement about the book fair.
- Based on the ages of the kids and size of the school, plan what inventory you will bring and map out your book fair set up.
- Start gathering the supplies you’ll need for the book fair. Don’t forget catalogs, order forms, signage, a square reader, change for cash and bags.
During the Preschool Book Fair
Yay! It’s time for the book fair. Get ready to have some fun!
- Plan to arrive early to set up.
- Greet parents and students as they arrive. Casually let them know, “we’re doing our book fair today!”
- Mornings are often slower than the afternoons at book fairs. Don’t be surprised.
- After parents pick out their books, make sure to ask them if they would like to purchase a book for their child’s teacher.
- I use square to take credit card payments. I also accept cash. I don’t usually take checks.
- If a parent would like to order books, I always take their order on a paper order form then process it when I close the book fair. I don’t recommend sending them to the website when they get home to order – they’ll forget!
- Book fairs are not the place to mention joining your team or booking a party. Your focus is to get books purchased for the school.
- Always thank parents for their purchases and remind them that 50% of their purchase goes back to the school in free books.
After the Book Fair
You did it! Congrats on a successful book fair! The hardest part is over, now it is just time to wrap it up and get the books ordered!
- After the in-person book fair finishes up, I email the director to thank them for having me and let them know the total book fair sales and how much they’ve earned in free books. I usually remind them that their free book total needs to include tax. I urge them to get me their order quickly so I can process any orders.
- I often leave the online book fair open for a few extra days while the school compiles their order.
- Last step is to close the online eFair, process the school’s reward order and close the book fair in OrderPro.
Here are the two fliers mentioned in the video:
Hi Becky!! I am doing my first book fair for a new daycare opening up in November. Would you mind providing me with the flyers/handouts that you use. Thank you in advance!
Hey Stacey! The fliers should be available at the bottom of the blog post!
Has anyone ever used Google Docs to help conduct an efair? I am doing an efair for a nursing home to get activities/puzzles/crafting items etc……I don’t want to take donations, I want people to be able to purchase directly. I need to make this as simple as possible. I am afraid to use a wishlist because we need multiples of each item…….I am super excited but need some guidance on how to streamline the process! Thank you!!
Hey Meredith! I don’t believe you can take payment information via Google Docs. That said, you could use a simple Google Form and allow your donors to select the items they would like to donate, then send them an invoice (via Square or PayPal) to complete their payment. Then, place the bulk order via an eFair. Just an idea! 🙂
I am gearing up for my first preschool book fair in a few weeks. Do you have ideas or fliers for teachers to make wish lists on and then the best way to display them for parents to see? Also, this preschool has over 200 kids. Printing these flyers on my home printer for every child doesn’t see very cost effective. Is there any other options besides hanging a book fair poster? Thank you!
Hey Jayme! YAY for your first preschool book fair – SO much fun! 🙂 I’ve done wish lists a few ways. For a big school, I had each teacher write down the book titles on their wish list on an index card and had a big display of envelopes on a foam board where parents could pick a book out for their class. I’ve also done teacher wish list bins where they put the actual books that they would like in the bin. (This works better if you have a ton of books and aren’t worried about sell outs). You can also do a virtual wish list and share a link to that before / during the book fair electronically. I printed flyers that were 1/4 page size to save printer ink and paper! I also loved using a laminated poster for schools so I could re-use it over time. Make sure the preschool director promotes the book fair over their email list and social media, if possible, too! 🙂 Hope that helps!
Hi Becky! I am planning my first Preschool Book Fair, Would you be willing to share your prechool book fair flyers or handouts? Thank you so much! Your training has been so helpful
Just emailed them to you! 🙂
Hi Becky! Usually, I’ve used consignment for book fairs, but this time I have enough inventory that I own outright to do a book fair without consignment…so how does the school get their 50% in free books, since I’m not ‘reconciling consignment’, per se? (Typically, I reconcile, say $1200 in consignment as a book fair + any special orders and then get the 50% back in free books that way…)
Hey Cindy! For the school to get their 50% in free books when you’re selling from your existing inventory (and without consignment), I would either 1) let the school pick their 50% back in free books from your inventory, or 2) replace the inventory that you sold at full retail in OrderPro with a new book fair order, which will give you the 50% back in free books. Hope that helps! -B
Hi. Would it be possible to get the preschool book fair information that you present to the directors? Like a flyer and information sheet?
Just sent them over to you, Tricia!
Hi! I have a meeting with a preschool director and I want to present her with all of the necessary information. This will be a virtual book fair. Can you please email me some things I could include in her packet?
Hey all the Preschool Fair docs that Becky used are at the bottom of the blog post! The files may not be up-to-date! I’d reach out to your upline for more up-to-date documents!
What’s the easiest way to do an online book fair where all orders are shipped to the school together?
Hi Megan – You’ll set up an eFair and click the check mark to disable shipping to individual addresses which will result in free shipping to the customer and all orders will ship when you close the book fair in OrderPro.
So I have someone who has an in home preschool/daycare so it’s smaller. She only has about 10 families. She is interested in an ebook fair since she doesn’t have much space to set up and have people shop. I have the Make Learning Fun flyers for her to hand out to the parents but I also want a letter to have her send home. Do you have any recommendation on doing this type of book fair?
Hi Kammie! I think asking her to send home flyers and a letter is a great idea. Although they might not have a ton of room in their preschool, you could easily bring in a basket or box of books for families to browse through to see the quality and contents. You might even offer to come in and do a guest storytime to really engage the kids. They’ll go home talking about the books you read! I would just be sure to link arms with the preschool director closely to make sure the parents know about the book fair. If she can send reminders via email or social media, that will help, too! The biggest barrier will be just making sure parents know about the book fair! Good luck! 🙂
If you do cash and carry at your book fair do you take that in to account for their 50% back in free books or do they only get 50% back in free books for orders placed online? I’m trying to process (in my head) importing an event in orderpro and how you could count the books on hand that were sold.
You import your cash & carry (consignment or you can just re-order the books you sold for yourself to replace your inventory) into Order Pro + your online orders. Then, you’ll be able to get the 50% back in free books.
How do you handle sales tax when accepting cash? Do you calculate it in and then just make sure you have enough change? It seems like a lot of work to make change. I was thinking of just covering the sales tax and rounding up for each book to keep it simple. So $4.99 books would be $5, etc. Thanks for the tips!
Hi Sarah – I would bring a cash box or money pouch and make sure you have change on hand. You pay sales tax to Usborne when you purchase books so you are reimbursing yourself for the sales tax you paid when you collect it from your customers. If you cover the sales tax yourself and are not charging your customer that is an expense you are incurring and it would be coming out of your profit. In San Diego, CA that’s 7.75% on every transaction so it would add up fast! You can go to the bank and get rolls of coins and smaller bills to make sure you have change on-hand. Hope that helps and good luck with your book fair!
Hi Becky, can you send me the book fair flyers please? Thanks!
Hi Katie – I just sent the fliers over.
Can you please send me flyers and documents also ?
Hi Antoinette – I just sent the fliers over.
HI Becky! I am planning my first Preschool Book Fair, and I’d love to see copies of your info letters n& parent letters. Thank you so much! Your training has been so helpful.
Hi Sarah – I just sent the fliers over.
Hi can I get info sent to me as well? Thank you!
Hi Sandra – There are links to the downloads mentioned in the video toward the end of the blog post above.
May I get that information as well?
Hi Emily – There are links to the downloads mentioned in the video toward the end of the blog post above.
Could you email me the handouts and flyers, as well? Thank you so much!
YES! Absolutely, Kelsey!
Hi Becky! Can I have a copy of the handouts please! 🙂
Hi Susan – I just sent the fliers over.
I would also love a copy of the documents on why to choose UBAM! Thanks for the value you add to our consultant community!
My pleasure, Jennifer! I’ll send those right over to you!
Hi Becky great information! Can I get the flyers and other info as well please?
You got it, Danielle!
Help! I have someone out of area wanting to do a Preschool Book Fair. I JUST started less than a month ago. How would I go about arranging for it to be online? What should I provide the director to give to parents?
Hi Tiana! You could set up an eFair and share the link for the families to shop in flyers for the preschool director to hand out. I would send a packet with catalogs to the director and really ask her to hype it up since you can’t be there in-person. Asking the teachers to make wish lists will also help boost your sales, too. So exciting to do an online book fair this quickly into your book lady career – congrats!! 🙂
Hi Becky, this is super helpful! Could you please share the flyers with me as well? I am about to set up my first eFair with a daycare. Thank you!
Yes! Check your email 🙂
Thank you for the great info! Is it possible to please get a copy of the flyers, hand outs, and order forms you use?
Yes! Check your email 🙂
Hi Becky! Would you be willing to email me a copy of your book fair flyer and handouts? Thank you so much!
Yes, check your email!
I’d also love to see what your flyers look like if you’re willing to share. 😊
Of course! Check your email!
Me too, please!
You’ve got it! Check your email 😉
You got it 🙂 Check your email!
Would you be able to send me a copy of the flyers/forms you use?
Just sent them to you via email!
Hi Becky, Thank you for this! May I get copies of the flyers as well?
Of course! Just sent them over via email.
Becky – I’d love to get a copy of your preschool book fair letters/flyers. Thank you!
I just sent them to you via email!
Hi Becky, I’m planning my first preschool book fair. Would you please send me your flyers/forms? Thank you!
Check your email!
me too please😊😊
You’ve got it!
You are awesome! Did you send them? I didn’t get anything yet
Yes, to the email address you used when leaving the original comment. If you email me at email@example.com, I’ll reply with them attached.
You are the best! Did you send them? I haven’t recieved anything yet
May I have a copy of your flyers as well? Thank you!!
Hi Karen, yes! I will send them to you via email.
I love all your trainings! Would you be willing to share your prechool book fair flyers or handouts? Thank you so much!
Of course, I’ll send them over via email!
May I have a copy of the flyers?
Yes, I’ll email them to you!
Hey Becky!! Would you mind sharing your flyers? Thanks a ton!!
I’ve emailed them to you!
Love your flyers! Would you mind sharing?
Hi Jamie, I just sent them to you via email!
Can you send me a copy of your flyers? I’m excited to do my first book fair!
Yes, I’ve emailed them to you!
I love the handouts you’ve done about why choose us and what we offer. Any way you would share these?
I would love copies of your flyers!
You’ve got it!
You are welcome! I’ve emailed the flyers to you!
Thanks for all the amazing videos! I’m just starting research into doing preschool book fairs and this was really helpful. I’d also love to have a sample of the handout/info sheets included in the packet. Thanks!
I’d like copies please!
Please send an email and we’ll reply back with the flyers!
If you have flyers and hand outs you use & wouldn’t mind sharing, I’d love a copy!
Yes, just sent an email over to you with them!
I checked my inbox and spam but haven’t seen anything.
I would also LOVE a copy of the handouts and flyers… also if you have any samples on if you email the directors? I find it hard to get free time during the day to actually make phone calls while my kids are up and screaming lol
Please send an email and we’ll reply back with the flyers!
Hi this is awesome! Do you have a sample of the handout/info sheets included in the packet?
I can send you copies of the flyers!
When doing a cash & carry preschool book sale, how many books do you generally bring with you? Obviously, that would vary based on the size of the school, but do you have a general rule of thumb that you follow for calculating what to bring? I heard you say you like to have as many as possible and I totally agree but just want to make sure I don’t go overboard but still have enough!
Hi Lisa! There isn’t a specific formula, however, most of my preschools have about 1 – 6′ table full of books. Those preschools average about 100 kids. You can always take orders so don’t feel like you need to bring a ton of inventory with you.
Thank you, Becky! I’m just concerned that their willingness to order may decrease if they have to go through the ordering process and especially the WAITING process. My orders have been taking over 3 weeks to get here and it feels like forever! 🙂 I will just have to try it out and see. I’m also trying to get a feel for if I should take 1.5 times, twice as much as what you hope to sell, etc. so that I can plan better in the event that the school or library has past history that they can provide. Thank you for your feedback!
I am curious if Usborne Books ships books to display for Cash and Carry type of Book Fair and those that are not sold are shipped back to Usborne.
Hi Becky! Do you need to be certified to work with preschools and daycares? Contemplating proposing a book fair at a daycare/preschool. Same question if I want to propose a fundraiser to an elementary school PTO. Finally, would you be willing to share your preschool list of books? Thanks much!!
Hey becky. I enjoy all your videos! Your strategies set you apart!
I was wondering if back office has the flyers on what we are all about and what we offer?
Hi Becky, I’m wondering if you have a list of books that you might be willing to share that you took with you to the book fair. I’m preparing to do a consignment order now and I’m very interested in what exactly others take along. I would like to take the usborne books that are most impressive.
Great idea, Jodi! I’ll work on putting together a list. In the meantime, my best sellers at book fairs are pretty consistent with what you can find in the back office… Busy Books, Nibbles, All Better, etc. Of course, you’ll want to customize your order based on the age range of the students at the book fair. It won’t be too different than your best sellers at a party! 🙂
Hi Becky do you have a list of your best sellers available for book fairs?
Great question! I have had others request this, as well. I’m working to upload a list of my top sellers from booths and book fairs for your reference. Check back soon and I’ll get it updated!
When you’re facilitating book fairs do you talk to moms or teachers about booking parties or joining your team?
Hi Cassy, Nope! I feel like parties / joining is off limits at a book fair. I often drop subtle hints when a parent asks if this is what I do or more questions about my gig. I usually say things like “Yea! Isn’t it the best?! I get to get books in the hands of kids everywhere… best job ever!” or “I do book fairs, pop up events, fundraising and even book parties” 🙂 Hope that helps!
Hi Becky! I have my first meeting with a preschool next week. Have you ever held a book fair for cash instead of free books? The preschool I’m meeting with said they really don’t need many books for their library but are trying to raise money for some other projects. Thanks! I enjoyed your video!
That’s awesome, Lindsay!! I always pitch FREE books first. That’s where they’ll get the most value – 50% back is generous!! I do have one preschool that prefers the cash over the books and I’ve offered 20% of my sales back to them. You’ll need to do the math to make sure this works for you and come up with a percentage you’re comfortable offering. I know some have done a sliding scale where it’s 15% back after $1000, then 20% at $1500, then 25% over $2000, etc. Just make sure you’re still making some $! For me, I do so many booths, if I keep the free books for myself and offer a portion of my commission to a school, it doesn’t sting too bad. I have lots of events that I’ll sell those free books at full-price so it kind of evens out for me. I’d hype up the free books and then offer the cash-back as a last resort!