Last week, the New York Times had an article about publishers trying to hook up with retailers to get people to read. It read, in part, "Simon & Schuster is urging its sales representatives to punctuate their bookstore rounds with impromptu pitches at promising shops and markets they spot in their travels.... And HarperCollins plans to design books for its spring catalog in shades of 'margarita and sangria,' greens and reds that store owners have told the publisher will dominate that season's color palette. At Penguin Group, sales representatives have begun pushing into rural areas that are short on big bookstores, selling at cattle auctions, among other places."
I say, go where people are. And if that's not in bookstores, go to cattle auctions. Books seem intimidating or otherwise off-putting to some people now. One of teens who reads this blogs has said she doesn't know a single adult who reads for pleasure.
I know someone who has done very well suggesting hospital gift shops stock her book. Granted, her books, filled with uplifting mini-stories (written by a variety of people, she collects and edits them) and perfect for the hospital gift shop market. But it's a good example of thinking outside the box.
Unfortunately, it's hard to do this kind of retail tie-in with a novel.