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.
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.
In this day and age of constant bombardment of “too good to be true” deals, audiences have become rightfully skeptical. How then can Binc reassure booksellers that our offer of financial assistance with no strings attached is the real deal? The answer is to meet face-to-face in a place where we can take time to explain our programs and answer any questions booksellers may have. Ideally, it would be a place that attracts a number of book people from across the industry. A location where those who have been helped can share their experiences with those who are just hearing about the Foundation. That perfect place turns out to be a regional IBA Trade Show (or more accurately, eight separate shows). This year the trade shows have been rebranded as Discovery Shows and this couldn’t fit Binc more appropriately. We are traveling back and forth across the country to help books industry professionals “discover” Binc.
It was a whirlwind of a month; attending seven of the eight possible Independent Bookseller Association’s fall conferences. Pam, Penny and Kit were bouncing from one state to another meeting, greeting and educating booksellers about the assistance Binc can offer to their employees. We were thrilled with the response!
The folks at The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association put on a busy and vibrant show, chuck full of authors and events. The staff and volunteers were all as helpful as could be and made me feel very welcome. Thanks everyone!
1. Getting great feedback from booksellers about improving our website. Thanks Bruce, from Rediscovered Books!
2. Meeting so many northwest authors and hearing about the wide variety of books they are publishing.
Pam and Penny attended the Heartland Fall Forum hosted by GLIBA and MIBA in Chicago over the weekend. It was a great event full of old and new friends, unforgettable authors and an energetic trade show floor. Here are the top ten reasons The Heartland Fall Forum exceeded our expectations!
9. Hearing author Jim Harrison speak at lunch on Friday!
I attended the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fall Conference in San Francisco.
In addition to meeting all the great booksellers, here are my top ten favorite things.
10. My early morning walk to San Francisco Bay.
9. Running into vendors I have met at past shows, who are now friends.
8. Learning from his colleagues, that Steve Harkins (our emcee at Trivia for Cheaters in New Orleans) is a singer! Just wait until next year, Steve!!
7. Very cool posters, totes and shirts from Litographs.
6. From East West Bookshop – “We have your poster in our back room”.
5. Martin Pearl Publishing’s very booky booth.
4. Meeting a co-worker of our scholarship winner from Bookshop Santa Cruz.
3. Picking up some fun postcards from Workman, advertising the book Big Appetites.
2. Beer tastings and wine tastings – these book people like to party!
1. The ABA crew sporting our orange “I support Binc” ribbons.
Bye, bye San Francisco . . . I’m off to Portland.
I have found this to be true as I have visited stores this summer as part of Binc’s 100 Bookstore Challenge. I also noted that bookstores, like towns have very different personalities. Some are very organized and pristine, with a place for everything and everything in its place, while others are relaxed, very homey and even a bit rumpled. Some have their checkout desk front and center to greet you as you arrive, and others want you to peruse the store before happening upon the desk in the back. One store instructs their employees to help everyone coming in the door immediately, while in the next you are free to wander at you leisure without any interruption. I visited stores that offered seating on nicer furniture than I have in my own living room, and others where patrons are sprawled on the floor.
This year as Pam, Kit and Penny travel across the country to seven of the regional Independent Bookseller Association Trade Shows, we will be adding fundraising events and education sessions to our repertoire. Three organizations have offered to host a fundraiser to raise funds to assist their fellow booksellers, and one other has scheduled a Binc education session. These regional IBA events have proven to be our best method for meeting and having meaningful conversations with booksellers across the country.