Binc’s IBA Marathon

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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!

At each stop we were met with a warm welcome from the booksellers who had witnessed Binc’s financial assistance in action and from booksellers who had heard about us through the industry grapevine. In every city we heard stories and received thanks – a huge improvement from last year, when very few book people knew who we were.

Here are some highlights:

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance kicked off their event in New Orleans with a Trivia for Cheaters fundraiser for Binc. Baker & Taylor stepped up to sponsor the event and kept the contestants and audience well supplied with refreshments. B&T’s  Steve Harkins did a masterful job as the emcee and led a spirited auction as teams bid to add Doors drummer John Densmore to their team for the final round (featuring  Doors trivia questions, of course). The event raised $1487 to benefit the programs of the Foundation.

In the northeast, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association held their meeting in Somerset, NJ. Baker & Taylor was a big sponsor here as well, hosting a cocktail party at their warehouse nearby. A bookseller who received Binc assistance after Hurricane Sandy stopped by to say “Thanks”.

“It was worth the drive, sitting in the freeway traffic for a couple hours just to meet you.“ This was Pam’s greeting in Los Angeles for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association conference. She had the chance to meet a very grateful recent grant recipient who with the help of Binc and Medical Recovery Services had more than $100,000 in medical bills written down. We love hearing from our recipients, and meeting them in person is a special treat.

San Francisco was the destination for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association’s members.  Kit ran into vendors and booksellers who are now becoming friends and they all say the same thing – “We love what Binc is doing. How can we help!” Our response continues to be “Get Involved! Help us spread the word.”

At the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association event in Portland, a free day allowed Kit to explore the local bookstores.  Powell’s and Annie Bloom’s were standouts, one for sheer size and inventory and the other for its cozy, welcoming feel. At the conference we received some very useful input from booksellers on how to improve our website and Penny is busy on those changes already (Special thanks to Bruce Delaney from Rediscovered Books). And in an amazing 20 minute period a bookstore owner learned about Binc’s financial assistance program, immediately called an employee with a need and the employee contacted our office for help. How’s that for instant results!

The Heartland Fall Forum is the joint conference of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. They met in Chicago this year and put on a spectacular silent auction to benefit Binc.  Jennifer Keeley organized the event and collected fabulous donations from show vendors. With the enthusiastic bidding by booksellers another $5800 was raised to benefit the programs of the Foundation.

The 2013 show season wrapped up with the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association in Denver. Here, we met a store owner whose employees were helped after the recent flooding in Colorado and we heard how much even a small amount of assistance can make.  Also, at this event we were approached by three publisher’s sales reps who all want to take information about Binc to the stores they visit. If you are a sales rep or in any other line of work that takes you to bookstores, please contact us and we will be happy to send you information to pass along.

After a crazy four weeks, we are back in the office and following up all the great leads we got on the road. We enjoy traveling to meet booksellers in person, but also are happy it only happens once a year.

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