Winter Institute 13 Wrap Up Blog!

Winter Institute 13 was a whirlwind of friends, knowledge and so much fun! Shelf Awareness put together a great summary of the whole event here, but we wanted to share the event from your safety net’s perspective!

One of the first highlights of our adventure was a dinner we hosted at the Majestic Grille. We were absolutely humbled to be in the room with dozens of friends from across the book industry. Our supporters and scholarship recipients were able to connect over their favorite books and a great meal.

“The dinner represented all faces of the book industry coming together to celebrate their foundation,” said Kit Steinaway, program director. “Without their support, we couldn’t have helped a record number of booksellers in 2017.”

Our primary focus during trade shows is talking face-to-face with booksellers at our consultation station – it’s our strongest awareness tool. However, there was still plenty of time to attend some education sessions featuring booksellers and experts from across the book industry and beyond.

Jesse Mecham, author of “You Need a Budget” talk with booksellers about how to hack their salary during an information session at WI13.

Our Director of Development attended “Exploring Innovative Business Models & Funding Options,” where she learned how the creativity that goes into making a bookstore a reality never ceases to amaze. The session discussed crowdfunding, using pop-ups to test markets and gain credibility, and the advantages and challenges of non-profit versus for-profit business models.

“Book people are passionate about finding ways to get books into the hands of people in their communities and they will do whatever it takes to accomplish their goal,” she said.

In addition to attending some great information sessions, we were honored to have executive director Pam French included on a panel of professionals discussing how booksellers can best prepare for an emergency.  During the panel, booksellers and store owners shared examples of their experiences and reinforced the need that advanced planning helped in their response efforts.

“Both of the store owners on the panel, John Cavalier and Valerie Koehler spoke from experience,” Pam said. “After the flooding in John’s neighborhood, he became involved with his local planning commission and is working to identify and update flood zones and emergency response proceeds.”

The emergency preparedness panel also featured a bevy of information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The FEMA representative provided and overview of how FEMA works and a list of online tools that can be used for emergency prep,” Pam said.  “One useful tip I learned is FEMA has an app that can be customized to any zip code and provide a lot of helpful information including a list of local emergency shelters.”

We were so honored to be named the designated charity of Winter Institute by the ABA. Their recognition elevated awareness of how Binc can help booksellers through emergencies and made it possible for an incredible fundraising event. The first ever Winter Institute game of Binc Heads-or-Tails was exciting, fun and brought everyone together to illustrate just how committed the book industry is to taking care of our people. The best part was raising enough money to help at least four booksellers!

“The energy in the room was amazing,” Kit said. “One of the few things that could entice a bookseller to get out of a signing line (for a few minutes, anyway) for their favorite author.”

Binc participates in CI5

The fifth American Booksellers Association ABC Children’s Institute provided Binc with the opportunity to connect with booksellers, publishers, store owners and authors.

The event featured a number of excellent panels and keynote speakers, including: Ilsa Govan, Jason Reynolds and Rachel Ignotofsky. Binc Board member and Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association Executive Director Deb Leonard provided a great summary in her organization’s most recent newsletter.

CI5 was an awesome experience- honestly, I was awestruck many times.  The authors were wonderful, the education was helpful and informative, but this year everything else was blown away by the speakers. 

The opening keynote was Ilsa Govan, author of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for facilitating Conversations on Race by Rowman & Littlefield.  With just a few short exercises, Ms Govan showed us how to illustrate some innate biases that we all have.   Her program showed ways to talk about race, culture and gender in non-confrontational ways.  It was a knock out!

Jason Reynolds has been a winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; the Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Walter Dean Myers Award, winner of the Time Book of the Year and of the Kirkus Award, not to mention being a National Book Award Finalist. Jason is always highly entertaining, as well-as thought-provoking, and he was at his best here. If you ever have doubts about what a difference books can make in a child’s life, watch this program.

A conversation between Phillip and Erin Stead and their editor highlighted the journey from a scribbled note found buried in Mark Twain’s Files to the amazing The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine coming in September from Doubleday. The painstaking process of creating an illustrated book from a few notes from America’s best known author was daunting, but after hearing the Steads relate their efforts to bring this story to life, I am sure this will be a publishing event not to be forgotten.

Marley Dias is a 13-year-old black girl who was frustrated by not finding a single story in her school’s library that featured young black girls doing ordinary or even exciting things. Not one featuring a brainiac black girl astronaut with her trailblazing space poodle; not one with a fierce black girl fashion designer with her frisky Rottweiler on a rhinestone leash; not one about a black girl forensic anthropologist wither her inquisitive collie.  So, she decided that she would collect books with black girls as the main character. Not just a few books, but 1000 books! And she would give them away to places they were needed most. Marley started her campaign, and #1000BlackGirlBooks was born.  Marley was a featured speaker at White House United State of Women Summit, named “Coolest kid in America” by Ebony Magazine, selected by Teen Vogue as among the “10 amazing Black women who are changing the game”, and on and on.  Her book Marley Dias Gets it Done is coming from Scholastic this fall. This young lady should be on your radar!

The closing keynote speaker was Rachel Ignotofsky, author of Women in Science by Ten Speed Press. It was a fascinating talk about combining illustration and science literacy.  One of the most interesting details was that as she began the research for this book, Ms Ignotofsky expected that the reason there weren’t many well-known female scientists is because there weren’t many women who had opportunities to do become scientists.  To her (and our) great surprise, she found that there were hundreds in almost every discipline!  It was shocking, but not surprising that many, many women had achieved great success in many scientific endeavors, but that, because they were women, they had never been recognized. She intends to continue her search for unsung women with a book on Women in Sports coming this fall from Ten Speed.

Binc Scholarship recipient Kimberly Cake, of Enchanted Passage in Sutton Massachusetts was among the panelists included in a discussion on making a store more accessible for patrons and staff with disabilities. You can read more about it in Shelf Awareness.

Binc scholarship winner Kimberly Cake discusses creating an inclusive environment for patrons and staff with disabilities.
Binc scholarship winner Kimberly Cake discusses creating an inclusive environment for patrons and staff with disabilities.

Cake wasn’t the only Binc scholarship winner to make some waves in Portland. Sue Roegge of Chapter2Books participated in the question-and-answer portion of the presentation by Marley Dias on the need for diversity in school libraries and her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign.

Sue Roegge, of Chapter2Books, asks a question during a presentation by Marley Dias. (Binc photo/Adam Gac)
Sue Roegge, of Chapter2Books, asks a question during a presentation by Marley Dias. (Binc photo/Adam Gac)

Between panels and keynote speakers, CI participants stopped by the Binc Foundation consultation station. Representatives from bookstores, other nonprofits, publishers and more visited with Executive Director Pam French to talk about the importance of our safety net for booksellers.

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“As a first-time attendee, the energy and enthusiasm at Children’s Institute were inspiring!” French said. “I loved everything from the keynote presentations to the author reception to meeting booksellers and authors. This was the perfect place to let booksellers know about Binc and how the Foundation can help out when life doesn’t go as planned.”

The event was a sink-or-swim test for new Communication Coordinator Adam Gac, who was promptly overwhelmed by the incredible positivity of the children’s book industry professionals.

“Everyone was so excited to be there and to grow together. Even though I’m still new to the job, long-time Binc supporters and former grant recipients made me feel like I was part of the family,” Gac said.

Book Series to Benefit Booksellers

Regional essay logo

Independent booksellers across the country are invited to submit personal essays for a nine-book series of regional paperbacks to be published by Unbridled Books with printing support by McNaughton & Gunn and edited by Carl Lennertz of ExpressEdit.net.

“I am so excited that Unbridled and McNaughton & Gunn see the joy of supporting a vehicle for bookseller authors to be published, as well as supporting a literacy cause.” – Carl Lennertz/ ExpressEdit.net

Ron Rice, editor of My Bookstore, will gather the essays for publication, and Bob Minzesheimer, formerly of USA Today (and now an indie bookseller), will write a foreword for each volume.

The books’ content will mirror the territories of the nine regional associations. One or two titles a year will be published, when a sufficient number of essays is received to produce a complete book. Essays should be about each bookseller’s unique experience in his or her current or home state — life, travels, observations — past or present.  After design and production costs are recouped, remaining profits will go to the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation. 

“We are thrilled to be the beneficiary of this exciting project. Thank you to everyone involved. This support will allow the Binc Foundation to continue helping booksellers across the nation who experience a personal financial crisis.” Pam French/Binc Foundation

For the series of books, submissions for essays shouldn’t necessarily be about bookstore life specifically, but about personal observations or life experiences a bookseller has had that embody their state and their place in them. A bookseller can write about any state they’ve lived in, not just where they currently reside. Send submissions in soon – everyone is anxious to get book one into your bookstore quickly!

“Greg and I have always admired independent booksellers and we love publishing diverse voices from around the country, so this is a natural for us.” – Fred Ramey/Unbridled Press

If you are a bookseller with a penchant for writing, see how you can submit your essay here.

Questions can be addressed to Carl Lennertz, Ron Rice or Fred Ramey.

How Far We’ve Come

Four Seasons BooksWhile 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.

Continue reading “How Far We’ve Come”

What it Takes to Become a Successful Bookstore Owner

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.

Paz and Associates logoPeople often ask us to describe the kinds of people who are most successful bookstore owners. The answers may be surprising … the ability to master spreadsheets is not top of the list!

Continue reading “What it Takes to Become a Successful Bookstore Owner”