This letter begins with two big thank-yous.
In my last letter in BTW, I asked that if you had attended the Winter Institute in Seattle, you complete our post-event survey. And I extended an invitation to join us at one of the upcoming ABA Spring Forums.
Hundreds of you did both, and thank you very much.
The results of the Winter Institute survey are already helping us plan for this month’s meeting of ABA’s Educational Task Force, and for the ongoing development of our educational programming. We know that education remains for you our number-one goal, and we are continuing to work hard to make sure that all the programming offered year-round by ABA is current, practical, and focused on your store’s success. (I am repeating this request to everyone who joined us in San Antonio for our Children’s Institute: Please help us by filling out the survey about the institute that you received from Matt Zoni a few days ago.)
If you have any feedback, ideas, or suggestions about our educational offerings, I hope that you will e-mail or call ABA’s Content Officer, Dan Cullen. It’s our partnership with you that produces the best in educational programming.
A very big thank-you, too, to the hundreds of you who have joined us at the nine Spring Forums that we have held so far this year. As we move around the country, each of the forums is a unique event, but there were some similar questions and common themes at all of them.
Among other things, at the forums we talked about:
● sales in bookstores (which had been hit by the winter storms, but, happily, are now improving with the warmer weather);
● the upcoming Indies First Storytime Day on May 17 (lots of good ideas for promotion and in-store events, but still, also, lots of opportunity for bookstore participation);
● ABA’s new affiliate partnership with Bancard Systems Inc. for credit card processing (questions about the program, and appreciation that the service had been tested by fellow booksellers before ABA created the affiliation); and
● the upcoming BookExpo America (more on that in a minute...).
As always, my colleagues and I left the forums with very helpful feedback, lots of good information and suggestions, and some great visits at both the host and neighboring bookstores.
Again, many thanks to all who took part in the forum and our interactive educational session, “Conversations That Work.” There are two more forums scheduled: Tuesday, April 29, in White Plains, New York, and Wednesday, April 30, in Boston, Massachusetts. Here’s a link to more information, and I hope we might see you there.
As I mentioned, BEA was discussed at the forums, and the show is now just a little over a month away. If you haven’t yet made plans to attend, I hope you will take a look at the full slate of ABA’s programming. We understand that large trade shows are changing and BEA is not the same as it was years ago. But we also have heard from you that BEA remains an important — and unique — resource for establishing and developing important business relationships with publishers and others in the industry.
With that in mind, this year at BEA we have expanded our programming beyond a one-day format, and have focused on helping you connect with colleagues in publishing. While we will continue to offer educational programming, our focus is shifting to take advantage of the myriad opportunities for bookseller-publisher interaction. This is especially true with two new featured programs.
One is the “Meet the Editor” program, which will take groups of ABA member booksellers to meetings at publishing houses and give them a behind-the-scenes look at the philosophy and process of book editing, and which is set for Wednesday, May 28. The other program will be one-on-one publisher meetings for member bookstore owners and managers, which will be structured in a speed-dating format and will give booksellers the opportunity to meet top publishing executives individually for 10 minutes per publisher. These one-on-one meetings will be held on Saturday, May 31.
Here’s a link to more information about both programs and the full schedule of ABA programming at BEA. You’ll be reading a lot more about BEA in the coming weeks in BTW, but I hope you can take a moment now to review what’s on tap and that you’ll seriously considering joining us in New York.
There are still a few rooms available at our host hotel, and our colleagues at BEA have once again made a lower-cost option open to ABA members to stay at Barnard College for only $75 per night. (Here’s more information.)
Whether you attended one of the Spring Forums or not, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, my colleagues on the ABA staff, or any member of our Board if you have any questions or concerns. As a trade association, ABA is most effective when we are hearing continuously from our members.
CEO, American Booksellers Association
P.S. We will soon be e-mailing an updated version of the “Conversations That Work” presentation from the Spring Forums — which will include the tips and suggestions from booksellers at the forums — to all who attended. Watch for it…