Books Interrupted My Vacation And Other Adventures in the World of Publishing

Opened book on a sand with green sunglassesAs 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.

Continue reading “Books Interrupted My Vacation And Other Adventures in the World of Publishing”

What I did on my summer trip to California

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.

Copperfields Books      Copperfields Dog

Continue reading “What I did on my summer trip to California”

Literati Bookstore First Anniversary Event to Benefit Binc

Literati anniversaryWhile attending the 2012 Heartland Fall Forum I had the wonderful luck to sit next to Hilary Lowe (now Gustafson) and Mike Gustafson during the opening event. After reading their names tags, including Ann Arbor as the location of their store I could hardly sit still even though one of my favorite authors, Louise Erdrich, was being introduced. After the event I introduced myself and learned they were planning to open a bookshop in downtown Ann Arbor. It would be hard to underestimate the joy I felt about their news. Another bookstore opening in Ann Arbor, downtown, was going to be a dream come true.

Continue reading “Literati Bookstore First Anniversary Event to Benefit Binc”

Top Ten Reasons We Loved SIBA

Pam, Kit and Penny had a great time at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show in New Orleans!  There were too many highlights to mention, so we’ve narrowed it down to just 10.  Thanks to everyone that made SIBA wonderful, and made our Trivia for Cheaters fun-raiser a huge success!

10. John Densmore joining “The Tworking Girls” for a round of Trivia for Cheaters

9. Hearing Amy Tan, Sandra Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert and Lee Smith all speak at the SIBA Supper

8. Showing the cool, new Story Stickers to booksellers and seeing how much they liked it

7. Our brief, impromptu NOLA cemetery tour

6. Beignets at Cafe Du Monde

5. Faulkner House Books

4. Seeing Bourbon Street

3. Meeting the Trivia for Cheaters teams in person

2. Steve Harkins from Baker &Taylor wearing his thank-you bling beads with his lovely suit

1. Getting free books and learning about what’s coming out this season and what the booksellers are recommending

What are your Top Ten from SIBA?

Look for more Top Ten lists as we visit more IBA Trade Shows this fall!

Trivia for Cheaters a Success at SIBA

A special appearance by legendary Doors drummer, John Densmore, added an extra bit of excitement to the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation’s Trivia for Cheaters event in New Orleans. John graciously agreed to be auctioned as the expert to assist a team for the final round of play which focused on Doors trivia. Spirited bidding added greatly to the $1,475 raised to assist booksellers in times of personal financial crisis.

John Densmore
The legendary John Densmore of The Doors reads from his book The Doors: Unhinged.
Trivia for Cheaters
John Densmore was auctioned to Team Tworking Girls for the round of Doors trivia.

The event was held as part of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Fall Trade Show taking place September 18 – 22. Seven teams of four competed in a spirited event, testing their knowledge in categories ranging from children’s books to super heroes. By soliciting donations to benefit the Binc Foundation, teams were able to purchase additional team members, correct answers and other “cheats”. The Enablers, a team from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC took home the grand prize and bragging rights as the SIBA Trivia Champs for 2013.

SIBA Executive Director, Wanda Jewell, was instrumental in helping Binc pull together this unique event. Baker & Taylor generously sponsored the event, with their own Steve Harkins acting as emcee and their staff keeping the refreshments flowing to contestants and audience alike.

Team SIBA thinks hard as emcee Steve Harkins runs the show.

Visiting Bookstores

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”  ― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

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.

Continue reading “Visiting Bookstores”


Spring makes me happy. I know that the temperature and wind chill may lead you to believe otherwise; but spring is officially here.

I love how people’s moods change as it stays light later in the evening. For many, thoughts turn to pretty new clothes, planning a garden, and outdoor projects. For me, it’s all about spring cleaning and de-cluttering. I’m not a neat freak; I have dust bunnies that are almost as large as my cats (who contributed to the making of said dust bunnies). But I do like organizing and attempting to find a place for everything.

One of my favorite books is Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. She also wrote The Happiness Project and both have inspired me to tackle some projects that I am forever putting off.

Happier at Home imageFor example, last weekend, I finally gave up on the idea that I was going to use my small-ish paper shredder to go through about 15 years worth of documents and took it all to the local office supply store to shred. Ten minutes and $10 later, I felt as if I was 30 lbs lighter instead of the boxes of paperwork I left behind. The happiness I felt is exactly what Rubin describes in her books. Check out her website to learn more.

This weekend, I’m sorting through what I no longer need, either to donate or sell at my community’s yard sale next month. Donating so that someone else gets use out of something that I no longer need is another thing that makes me happy (and gets me a step closer to a clutter-free house!).

Speaking of donating, Book Industry Charitable Foundation can use always put your donations to good use – whether it’s a one-time or recurring donation, a gift of airline miles, credit card rewards points, or donating your time. Your donation helps book people in need. As a former bookseller and a lifelong book person, I’m proud to have donated to Binc Foundation in various ways since it started in 1996. Learn more about how you can help by donating.

Hopefully, it will soon be warm enough wherever you may be to enjoy spring!

Post by Mary Fitzgerald, optimistic member of the Marketing & Communications Committee.

Volunteering at Binc

I have been volunteering at the Binc Foundation for almost a year. What a year it has been! I visit the Binc office for a few hours a week and do my best to help Pam, Kit, and Alison update the website, figure out a social media plan, and anything else they need me to do.

Why do I volunteer at Binc? I probably should say something noble like “I get to help Binc assist booksellers in need” or “I am helping to carry on the legacy of Borders”. Truthfully, I volunteer for those reasons and also because it is a lot of fun. I enjoy working with Pam, Kit and Alison who are incredibly driven and dedicated to Binc’s mission, which leads them to give me interesting and challenging tasks to complete. I’m learning tons about social media, creating quality website content, blogging, non-profit business and so much more. I helped to celebrate surviving the Zombie Apocalypse! and watched a Zombie Flash Mob invade Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor (I don’t think many people can say that about their volunteering experiences). I also had the opportunity to take pictures of the Borders “B” in various places around Ann Arbor to promote the auction of the letters from the Borders Store 01 sign.

books resized

I’m grateful that I have been given the opportunity to volunteer at the Foundation. Not only am I getting a chance to learn more about social media and marketing (and Zombies), but more importantly, I’m also helping Binc with their mission to assist booksellers in need.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Binc Foundation please check out the Get Involved page or contact

Post by Penny Johnson, member of the Marketing & Communications Committee

Selling on eBay for Binc

Do you sell on eBay? If so, then you can help raise money for Binc to assist booksellers in need, while you sell through eBay Giving Works. Simply follow the easy steps on the eBay Giving Works site to designate a percentage of the sale of an item to be donated to Binc.

ebay_blog_imageYour merchandise will be tagged as a charitable sale and show up on our branded Giving Work page as well as the general categories you choose. It has been shown that listings for a charity get more attention and often sell for more. As an added bonus, when your listing sells, eBay will credit back a portion of the seller fees!

The Binc Foundation will continue to list items on our Giving Works page and we’d like to have you join us.

Not a seller, but definitely a buyer? Be sure to bookmark our page and check back often.

Borders Signage Auction a Big Hit

Borders Signage Auction a Big Hit

We were blown away with the response to our first-ever Charity Auction on eBay. The signage letters from the outside of the Borders flagship store in Ann Arbor were clearly much more sought after than we had imagined. Book people started the bidding and bid fast and furious to the bitter end, resulting in more than $3900 being raised to date. Check out our eBay page for additional letters still on the auction block. We are listing items regularly, so check often!

 binc letters

The letters are finding new homes all over the country. A children’s book author in Massachusetts purchased the word BOOKS, and we hope it will bring both joy and inspiration. A woman in New York purchased a letter for her Borders Alum brother and it is gracing his Ann Arbor home. A husband from New Jersey wrote “My wife worked for Borders for almost 12 years so rest assured it is going to a good book loving home.” We hope to hear where all the letters end up, follow us on Facebook to see the results.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the building owners, Malcolm Properties, LLC. Willingness to help and quick action on the part of the owners and demolition crew rescued these letters from the dumpster and allowed them to be used for a good cause. All the proceeds will benefit the programs of the Binc Foundation in support of booksellers.

We send a huge “thank you” to all who participated (and continue to participate) in the auction. We know that the winners will treasure their little piece of Borders history.