ABA CEO Addresses British Columbia Booksellers Association

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

At the invitation of the British Columbia Booksellers Association (BCBA), last weekend ABA CEO Oren Teicher was the keynote speaker at the group’s Winter Education Day in Victoria, British Columbia.  Teicher gave two talks — one addressed to booksellers and another to booksellers, publishers, and librarians — focusing on book industry trends and the opportunities and challenges facing independent booksellers across North America. The events were part of BCBA’s Winter Book Fair.  

“Oren’s talks energized and informed our whole Education Day, as well as the Book Fair itself,” said Barbara Pope, president of the British Columbia Booksellers Association and co-owner of the Mulberry Bush Book Stores in British Columbia. “Immediately following Oren’s addresses on Saturday, and throughout the rest of the Book Fair, people were talking about what he said, to advance ideas for action.”

Pope said Teicher’s talk motivated attendees to think about innovation and collaboration. “The biggest impact was Oren’s message of encouragement to our indie booksellers, together with his challenge to our members, our BCBA leadership, and, ultimately, to our Canadian book industry partners, to build relationship connections with each other, to talk about how to develop new models of doing business together.  His invitation to help us in any way that he and ABA can is a hand-across-the-border friendship offer that we value deeply.”

Teicher, who also serves as the vice president of the International Booksellers Federation, noted to BTW: “It is important for independent booksellers in different countries to share ideas and best practices, as there are myriad opportunities for all of us to learn from each other.”

In talk to booksellers in Victoria, Teicher touched on industry shifts and the ways ABA member booksellers are responding to those shifts by finding alternative sources of capitalization and developing innovative programming. All of which, Teicher said, is leading to a “renaissance of indie bookselling in the U.S.”

In outlining alternative methods of capitalization, Teicher pointed to Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, which received small loans from members of the local community through the establishment of a Community Lender Program; Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia, which benefited from “crowdsourcing”; and Point Reyes Books’ Community Supported Bookstore Program, through which customers make a deposit into their bookstore account and draw future purchases against the balance.

Covering innovative programs and events, Teicher mentioned, among others:

At the second talk to booksellers, publishers, and librarians, Teicher spoke about the need for collaboration to challenge antiquated industry systems in the face of rapidly accelerating technological and social change.

“Publishers and booksellers — together,” he said, “must address this challenge and ask themselves: If we were to design a business model that would give all stakeholders in our industry the best possible opportunity for success, what would it look like?”

In his closing comments, Teicher said, “I remain firmly convinced that our industry has the creativity and commitment to fashion the new business models required to help innovate, strengthen, and expand our industry.”