Booksellers seeking to learn how to streamline and organize store operations should plan to attend the upcoming Winter Institute Idea Exchange on “Favorite Bookstore Forms, Documents, and Procedures,” which will be held from 2:10 p.m. to 3:10 p.m. on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.
The roundtable discussion will be moderated by Rachel Watkins, the communications director at Avid Bookshop, which has two stores in Athens, Georgia.
With the enormous changes Avid has undergone in the past couple of years, it has become critical for the store’s two locations to have forms and checklists in place, said Watkins, especially considering the number of booksellers on staff and the frequency with which shifts don’t overlap. “You have to be able to walk in and know what happened last night or to know the last time the nonfiction section was dusted,” said Watkins.
Booksellers can come to the idea exchange with their own forms and leave the session with a multitude of ideas from other booksellers for how to create new forms or improve on existing ones. Documents can cover any number of store tasks, including shop procedures, school author visits, in-store and offsite events, consignment policies, special orders, and more.
“One of the highlights of any bookseller meeting for me, whether it’s been at SIBA or an ABA event, has been the collaborative problem-solving and idea exchange that happens naturally when you get booksellers in the same vicinity,” said Watkins. “We’re not like other industries, where things are proprietary. That’s one of the delights of finding this career path.”
This idea exchange, Watkins said, will be helpful for any booksellers who are looking to have better communication about routine tasks.
Watkins hopes participating booksellers will compare forms to see how fellow stores handle the same tasks and take notes on how they can tweak their own forms. “Even if you feel good about how you do school orders or event submissions, it’s to your advantage to grow as a bookstore by seeing what other people are doing,” said Watkins.
Booksellers planning to attend the session can bring their favorite forms with them, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org to be printed and delivered to the roundtable by ABA. Forms submitted via e-mail or brought to the session should be clearly labeled with the submitting bookseller’s name and bookstore.
Following the event, select forms from the session will be available on BookWeb; watch upcoming issues of Bookselling This Week for details.
The American Booksellers Association’s 2018 Winter Institute will be held January 22–25, 2018, at the Sheraton Hotel and Memphis Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, Tennessee.
Booksellers have the opportunity to engage in other idea exchanges at Winter Institute, including:
- Idea Exchange: When Your Business Partner Is Also Your Life Partner
- Idea Exchange: Advocating on Behalf of Small Businesses
- Idea Exchange: Stores Under 1,000 Square Feet
- Idea Exchange: Exploring Innovative Business Models and Funding Options
- ABC Idea Exchange: Tips and Tricks to Train General Booksellers to Hand-sell Children’s Books