In its efforts to serve and educate the dynamic needs of the bookselling industry, BookExpo 2018 is introducing a new, interactive exhibit, The Vital Bookstore, at this year’s event, which takes place May 30–June 1 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.
The Vital Bookstore is a collaborative learning space that will offer visitors insights into the best merchandising practices to help drive success and engagement for the in-store and community experience. The exhibit will be supported by education sessions that are geared to helping sellers and publishers maximize sales.
“The introduction of The Vital Bookstore and the education sessions the ABA will be delivering reinforce the new mission for BookExpo to deliver a platform focused on building a booksellers’ business and supporting librarians and booksellers in their goal of better serving their community,” said BookExpo Senior Vice President Ed Several. “BookExpo is where the business of bookselling gets done in North America, and The Vital Bookstore is another tool that visitors won’t get anywhere else.”
The exhibit is being developed by bookstore and library display specialists Lisa and Dave Uhrik, owners of Franklin Fixtures, with input from bookstore owners and national experts. Franklin Fixtures has decades of experience optimizing in-store merchandising strategies for thousands of small business across the U.S. and is credited with fixture design for 92 of the top 100 selling independent bookstores in the country.
Four life-size walk-through vignettes will be displayed in the exhibit: a café, a store with modern décor and sideline merchandising strategies, a traditional store with a classic library look and shelving designs, and a children’s store with special features to engage young readers. Visitors can explore the store three ways:
1) Take a self-guided tour, examining fixtures, shelf-talkers, and photos showcasing great ideas from large and small bookstores across the U.S.
2) Take a small-group (8–10 people) guided tour led by a volunteer docent who will point out the pattern languages of success that are in play.
3) Join one of numerous 45-minute dialogue sessions with bookstore owners and thought leaders on a variety of topics, such as creating store sales in non-traditional ways, easy merchandising changes that work, and disaster preparedness.
“It’s the 20th anniversary of the movie You’ve Got Mail, which I call ‘The Great Bookstore Misinformation Myth’—the myth that small bookstores were dying,” said Lisa Uhrik. “The bookstore the movie replicated as a set (New York City’s Books of Wonder) has been in business for 38 years and has expanded seven times over the past two decades. Independent bookstores aren’t dying; their role is evolving. They’re becoming essential cornerstones of their communities.”
Booksellers can register for free badges to BookExpo by providing their ABA member ID number during the registration process. More information about ABA’s programming at BookExpo can be found on BookWeb.org.