A Letter to Members From ABA’s President

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To My Independent Bookselling Buds,

Spring is here — at least it says so on the calendar — but the weather needs to catch up for many of us around the country. I hope that business has been good for all of you in this first quarter of 2013. We’ve seen some nice increases at Anderson’s so far this year, with great events and sales bumps over Valentine’s Day and Easter. I’ve heard similar good news from a lot of you, and if the trends continue, we should all see similar results when we get closer to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the end of the school year.

World Book Night is almost here, and I hope you have seen some increases in the number of givers who signed up at your stores: there are more than 25,000 givers this year! We’re celebrating with a Giver Party this coming Sunday and a Book and Rose event during the day on the 23rd (everyone who buys a book from the WBN book list will receive a rose). What an evening of reader joy! What could be more rewarding!

The ABA spring Booksellers Forums have been drawing fantastic attendance numbers so far, and it’s not too late to attend one of the five remaining to be held between April 19 and May 8 — in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Maplewood, New Jersey.

Some great topics will be discussed at the open forums, and each event will feature one of my favorite types of education session — “The Top Ten Things You Must Do Now.” This is what we at GLIBA have always called “Things That Work,” and it features proven tips and ideas for you to take back and put into practice to really make a difference in your store and in your bottom line — it covers everything from finance, to ambiance, to marketing, to inventory. This session was created from best practices that all of you submitted to ABA. In addition, most of the forums will include a Kobo eReader training session. So come out and share your ideas and good news, express your opinions and concerns on any topic, and see some old friends and make some new ones. We are always stronger when we gather together! I have never left a meeting of my fellow bookseller friends without a great idea or without feeling recharged!

BookExpo America is right around the corner and there are some great new events as well as returning favorites taking place in New York. Check out ABA’s full programming at BEA here.

One of the great new initiatives at Winter Institute 8 was the Bookseller/Publisher Focus Groups. These meetings were a great opportunity for publishers to hear from us about what we need, what we don’t, and how we can work together for a better partnership to sell more books. ABA is hosting a series of Bookseller/Publisher Focus Groups at BEA, but you need to sign up by May 3. Don’t miss out!

Hear ye, hear ye! Calling all ABC Group members!  There are some not-to-be-missed events at BEA this year. The Authors and Illustrators Tea, the Speed Dating Lunch, and the Illustrator Studio Tours! Years ago, ABC did these cool tours of authors’ and illustrators’ homes and studios in NYC when BEA was still the ABA Convention. I’ll never forget visiting Ted and Betsy Lewin’s studio and sitting on Mary Pope Osborne’s bed in her studio apartment — what a cool way to see some of our favorite artists in their work environments. So sign up now: don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity.

Another great event is this year’s Annual Children’s Book Art Silent Auction and Reception hosted by Jack Gantos and Lauren Myracle. The benefit for the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is free to all bookseller members of the ABC Children’s Group members this year.

Okay, and now I’m asking for your vote — not for me, but for the ABA Board. I know many of you, just like me, recently had local elections but now ABA needs you. If you haven’t done so, please submit your electronic Board ballot by April 30. A link to the ballot was sent to all main store members in an e-mail from Oren on March 29.

I just wanted to end by saying that our thoughts are with Boston, our colleagues there, and anyone affected by this week’s horrific tragedy. Thinking of all of you and grateful to have you, my extended family of booksellers.

Becky Anderson
ABA President
Anderson’s Bookshops
Naperville, Illinois