ABA Board Members Set Resolutions for 2019

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Bookselling This Week has compiled a list of New Year’s resolutions from members of the American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors, who were asked to share their top goals for the New Year — whether big, small, serious, fun, or somewhere in between — to help inspire other booksellers to set their own resolutions for the coming year.

Take a look at what ABA’s Board of Directors has planned for 2019.

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Seattle, Washington: As we continue to grow and take on new opportunities, I need to create a more disciplined schedule to meet with the staff that reports directly to me — and then stick to it!

Jamie Fiocco, owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina: My resolutions for 2019: Cross-promote our online store and bricks-and-mortar store better; review and re-negotiate credit card merchant services contracts; and read even more books in time to nominate for the Indie Next List!

Kenny Brechner, owner of Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers in Farmington, Maine: I have four New Year’s resolutions for 2019: First, to develop a series of spells for our sidelines so that they are able to reason with children who are attempting to destroy them. For example, a spell to make Winky the frog wind up and, when threatened, come to life and exclaim, “Please don’t over-wind me or I’ll break and be sad.” Second, to sell the spells to other children’s booksellers to recoup the enormous amount of time and effort involved in developing the spells. Third, to further grow our pre-order program. Fourth, to keep expanding our Leading Edge Library subscription service.

Kelly Estep, co-owner of Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky: Strictly for business? My goal for 2019 is to schedule time for myself each week to do planning and bigger picture thinking. I’ve always felt that I needed to have all of my time scheduled with specific tasks and if I have “free” time that I am “wasting time,” but after several education sessions where I learned that owners are doing this, I feel inspired to make it happen in the new year. Personally? I’ve got to stop using the fake sugar-flavored creamer in my coffee.

Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.: My 2019 resolutions as an ABA board member fall into two groups. On the local level, they’re to help improve conditions for as many indie bookstores as possible, enabling them to better serve their communities. On the national level, they’re to find ways of strengthening and promoting the indie channel so that customers think to shop with us first, publishers do more to direct their books through us, and authors steer their fans to us. Not too much to strive for, is it?

Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri: 2019 will be the year we revisit “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” We will be looking at internal procedures and job descriptions as well as public-facing programs and services to find opportunities, improve efficiencies, clarify our goals, identify redundant or unnecessary tasks, and even out workloads.  We want to look for ways to improve the bottom line that aren’t necessarily tied to more sales, but with the end goal of refocusing our energies on actually increasing sales. I expect we will be surprised, hopefully mostly pleasantly, and we will become a tighter crew.

Chris Morrow, owner of Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Manchester Center, Vermont: To practice gratitude in all areas of my life.

Pete Mulvihill, co-owner of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, California: My goal is to take a critical look at our Clement Street store. With one business partner departing, we’re going to use that as an excuse to re-examine how our space is allocated, our hours of operation, the rates we pay in trade for books, how we schedule staff, etc. With 51 years of history and decades of steady ownership, a re-evaluation is overdue, and we’ll work with staff to adapt this store to today’s reality without sacrificing the soul of the store.

Christine Onorati, owner of WORD Bookstores in Brooklyn, New York, and Jersey City, New Jersey: My 2019 resolutions for my own business include continuing to improve our margins through higher-profit non-book items, taking smarter advantage of publisher offers, selling more paid memberships, and creatively programming paid workshops and classes in our spaces. My resolutions for the ABA board are to continue to focus on elevating the indie channel and to remind publishers why we are a necessary part of the current publishing ecosystem. I’m hoping that, along with ABA staff, we can find new ways to spread the indie message wider and stronger and become more necessary to more people.

Annie Philbrick, owner of Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut, and Savoy Bookshop and Café in Westerly, Rhode Island: Here are a few: A) Change my staff picks more quickly. B) Continue to work towards lowering our cost of goods sold to become more profitable. C) Work on writing down every book I read!

Angela Maria Spring, owner of Duende District Books in Washington, D.C.: In 2019, I will continue to build Duende District locations and event programming with my new partner, Nicole Capó Martínez. Nicole will take over D.C. operations when I relocate to my home state of New Mexico in January, where I’ll be launching our first pop-up collaborations in Albuquerque. This is the first step in expanding the Duende experience and model nationwide.

Continue the conversation! Visit ABA on Facebook and Twitter to share your own New Year’s resolutions for 2019.