A Letter From ABA CEO Oren Teicher

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ABA LogoDear Booksellers,

I want to begin this letter with a big thanks to all of you who we saw at the recent fall regional trade shows. My colleagues and I look forward to these meetings because, even as we get better at communicating online, there’s no replacement for face-to-face conversations — even on a hectic trade show floor!

With the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association show still to go, we at ABA again have notebooks full of great ideas and suggestions. Looking ahead, next month we’ll be meeting with the executive directors of the regional trade associations to discuss a number of issues relevant to indie booksellers, and, if we didn’t get a chance to talk with you at your regional show, I encourage you to e-mail me or your ABA member relationship manager — Catherine Cusick for the GLIBA, MIBA, NAIBA, and NEIBA regions or Nathan Halter for the MPIBA, NCIBA, PNBA, SCIBA, and SIBA regions.

I want to remind you about something we discussed with many of your colleagues this fall — Indies First on Small Business Saturday. As you go about your plans for Indies First, I urge you to make sure you review the special offers that are available on BookWeb (a username and password are required to log in). Here’s more information and, also, a link to a downloadable Excel spreadsheet.

At the education session we presented at many of the fall trade shows on understanding and acting on your ABACUS-15 report, one of the key points stressed was the financial benefit of increasing margin and lowering your cost of goods sold. These Indies First offers — which reflect the unique role independent bookstores play in fostering the discovery and marketing of new titles — can help you increase your store’s margins and strengthen your bottom line. Please, do review them and take advantage of this opportunity.

Looking further down the industry calendar into 2017, I hope you had a chance to read the recent e-mail you received from ABA and our colleagues at Reed about some important changes for our annual trade show. As the letter explained, to better reflect today’s book industry, where communication among authors, publishers, booksellers, and readers is essential, BookExpo America will now be called BookExpo. The event will continue to be co-sponsored by ABA and will be run by the ReedPOP group (which runs BookCon, New York Comic Con, and other successful events).

In our very full book industry calendar, the annual trade show remains the one bookselling/publishing event at which all facets of our industry are represented. Given the singular role the indie bookstore channel now plays, it’s more important than ever that independent booksellers and publishers of all sizes successfully meet to do business at BookExpo. And while business is getting done at the show, both Reed and ABA recognize that it could be happening more often, and with fewer frustrations and impediments.

With that in mind, Reed and ABA have one primary goal: To increase booksellers’ opportunities at BookExpo for successful meetings with publishers and exhibitors in order to help you more easily identify key books for your store in the weeks and months following the trade show.

Much of the programming for the show is in the works, but many key initiatives are already in place.

At next year’s BookExpo, set for May 31 to June 2 in New York City, we are bringing back a full day of programming on the first day of the show. The schedule will include the return of the popular meetings with editors at publishing houses, as well as the successful speed dating meetings with publicists. There will be targeted educational offerings on new initiatives, and the incomparable Children’s Art Auction will be back that day as well. In addition, we’re working with the Children’s Book Council on BookExpo programming throughout the show that will be focused on children’s bookselling. And because more indie booksellers attend BookExpo than any other industry event, we are moving the Annual Celebration of Bookselling to the first day to maximize bookseller and author participation.

Networking and connecting are why we go to trade shows, and ABA and Reed are working with publishers to ensure that before the show it will be easy for you to set up meetings at BookExpo, and, also, to identify the publishing personnel in the booths who are there specifically for meetings with indie booksellers. Because we do understand that BookExpo is about the books, there will be an increase in the number of galleys and ARCs in the Galley Room in the ABA Lounge, which will again be the location for author signings and interaction.

Reed and ABA are also fully aware that all of these changes are for naught if the costs of attending BookExpo are too steep. We’re pleased to announce that, thanks to a significant financial commitment from Reed, the Row Hotel will be the 2017 Hotel ABA at the affordable — and pretty remarkable for NYC — price of $200 a night, which is inclusive of all hotel taxes and fees (approximately $33 per night per room). Hotel ABA registration opened on October 18, so booksellers can reserve a room now.

I know that May 2017 seems a long way off, but work is already well under way to make BookExpo much more responsive to your needs as indie booksellers. I very much hope you will join us for the show!

If you are attending the NCIBA trade show this week, do come by the ABA booth to say hi. And in the coming weeks, I hope you stay in touch. We’d love to learn how your Indies First events go, and hear any suggestions you might have for that or any other ABA program or initiative.


Oren J. Teicher
CEO, American Booksellers Association