While visiting family in West Virginia over the Thanksgiving holiday, we made our way to Shepherdstown, a small college town, and discovered Four Seasons Books. Of course we had to go into the bookshop and explore. As we were checking out I handed the clerk my business card and was about to explain about Binc, but didn’t get a single word out. The clerk saw the logo and jumped in with “I love what you do!” And then she went on to tell me all about our scholarship and emergency assistance programs. This was one of the best Thanksgiving moments I’ve ever had.
Opening a bookstore is a daunting task, even for someone having broad bookselling and book industry knowledge. Just like our partners at Paz & Associates, Binc is dedicated to helping book people thrive in an industry that can be a challenge.
This post on the Paz & Associates blog from October offers some insight on how to make it as a bookstore owner.
As an entrepreneur in the publishing and entertainment field, the time and money to take a vacation is rare. Every writer, publisher, and corporate entertainment entity operates on its own schedule, not mine. The clients and colleagues with whom I work bring to life the television shows, music, books, games, toys, and news consumed by millions everyday. And I have to be prepared and available when needed. That is why I jumped at the opportunity to travel with a friend, who is also the Public Information Officer for the town in which we live, to Clearwater, Florida recently for her annual pilgrimage to the NIOA (National Information Officers Association) Conference. I know that work never stops. But, I looked forward to the chance to change the view and my surroundings, and a little fun, while I kept up my daily work schedule. Not to mention the semi-vacation was about half the cost of what a real vacation would have been. Sign me up! I packed my bags and we hit the road. I was intrigued by the notion that I could learn about the NIOA and hear from my friend about some of the cases they were to cover at the conference. Among the highlights of this year’s conference, they covered how the FBI managed the media for the Boston Marathon Bombing, the 2013 Alabama child-hostage bunker crisis (Midland City, Al.), and Cleveland’s kidnapping victims of Aerial Castro. NCIS also gave a presentation about the Washington Navy Yard Shooting Rampage and its challenges. While I was unable to attend the conference sessions, it was great to hear about what the attendees were able to learn from the presentations.
Did you ever have one of those very ordinary encounters that snowballs into something much bigger? A casual comment, which grows to a longer conversation, leading to an introduction and all this is followed up with something really extraordinary. That is exactly the chain of events that led to Binc’s relationship with Eightfold Marketing & Creative.
At the NAIBA Discovery Show in Washington D.C. last weekend, I had a chance to sit in on a very informative and entertaining session titled “Prepare for the Unexpected and Worst-Case Scenarios”. The session was led by Robin Bell from Chesapeake & Hudson and Susan McAnelly from Browseabout Books. These two brought insights from both outside and inside the store. It reminded me that the unexpected happens daily in stores and is not always catastrophic, as is the case with the unexpected events Binc deals with, but can be equally as disruptive to the business at hand. Their presentations and the audience participation that followed reminded everyone that anything can (and often does) happen in a bookstore.
While spending time in northern California this summer I visited several bookshops and had the opportunity to meet with several booksellers. One of the many benefits of being in northern California was the number of good bookstores to visit.
The Copperfield’s stores in Healdsburg, Sebastopol and San Rafael were the shops I got to visit most frequently. Along with front tables that highlight a broad selection of titles the Healdsburg store has two cats in residence that add even more charm. I was busy petting them and forgot to get their picture. And all of the stores have a very tempting selection of remainder books. The café in the San Rafael store provided a comfortable spot to watch the foot traffic and grab a bite to eat.
“To strengthen the bookselling community through charitable programs that support employees and their families.”
This is the mission of the Binc Foundation, to help maintain a strong book industry. To achieve this goal, we need strong bookstores, and strong bookstores need engaged employees. Overwhelming medical bills, personal tragedy, natural disaster or the enormous cost of higher education can all pose insurmountable hurdles for a bookstore employee. This is where the Binc Foundation comes in, acting as the “bookseller’s safety net”. Binc provides real help to real booksellers every day. Assisting the bookseller’s family to return to a state of financial equilibrium and allowing the bookseller to focus on the job they love. And this is where YOU come in, as a vital part of this caring community of book people.
As summer storm season heats up, Binc would like to remind you of some basic steps to take. Whether your community is prone to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or fires some planning will go a long way to being prepared. The time to think about a potential natural disaster is not when they are imminent, but beforehand, when there is still time to work out a plan.The Red Cross’ Emergency Preparedness Playbook is a great place to start when getting ready for anything Mother Nature may throw at you. Use this Red Cross site to prepare your home plan as well. The Institute for Business & Home Safety also puts out a thorough planning booklet. These are valuable tools to use when getting your disaster plan in place.
The staff of Binc traveled to New York again this year to attend Book Expo America. As in past years, it was a busy few days with many people to meet and book industry events to attend. We kicked things off with an informal “Drinks with Binc” happy hour for board members, volunteers, supporters and staff to meet each other, chat and gear up for BEA!
The ABA Booksellers Lounge was a once again a quiet oasis at Book Expo America for booksellers to relax, have a snack, catch up with each other and go to author signings (Anjelica Huston!) away from the frenzy of the trade show floor. Binc’s table in the lounge busily welcomed many visitors from the book industry. Whether they were already aware of the Foundation’s programs, like committee members Susan Schlesinger and Michael Link who we were thrilled to meet face-to-face after having worked with them by phone for months, or new to our mission to help booksellers and their families, like Peggy and Carol from Turn of the Corkscrew, Binc had tons of assistance information to share. We announced the winners of the 2014 Scholarship Program, showed booksellers our video detailing how the Foundation assisted bookseller Clarey Rudd from Bank of Books in Malibu, California, and talked about the new Automatic Payroll Donation option we are starting after booksellers requested it in our industry survey.