Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 7, 2011
iBooks: Steve Jobs
Like millions of others around the world, we at Shelf Awareness were saddened to hear of the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. We're big fans--most of our capital assets are Apple products.
Apple enthusiasts are already turning to books to find out more about the man some are comparing with Edison and Einstein. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson ($35, 9781451648539), whose pub date was moved up by publisher Simon & Schuster to October 24 from November 21, is #1 on Amazon. Isaacson, author of biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, had been asked by Jobs to write about his life.
Agate Publishing's I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words, edited by George Beahm ($10.95, 9781932841664), a collection of more than 200 Jobs quotations, is coming out on November 15. Agate president Doug Seibold said the company may be able to update the book, which is at the printer, and is more likely to make changes to the e-book, which had been finished. The book was #21 on Amazon this morning.
Recent titles on Jobs include:
- Inside Steve's Brain by Leander Kahney (Portfolio, $24.95, 9781591842972), which was updated in 2009.
- The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success by Carmine Gallo (McGraw-Hill, $25, 9780071748759), published in 2010.
- The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation by Jay Eliot, a former senior v-p of Apple (Vanguard, $25.99, 9781593156398), published in March.
- Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs and the Creation of Apple by Michael Moritz (Overlook, $15.95, 9781590204016), which was reprinted last year.
Another related title is a bit unusual but exquisitely timed. Apple Design, a tribute to the design of Apple products and to Jonny Ive, the design guru at Apple, is being published by Hatje Cantz and distributed here by Artbook/DAP ($60, 9783775730112). The book accompanies a show called Stylectrical: On Electro-Design That Makes History currently up at the Museum fuer Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany.
Amazon Cuts a Tax Deal with Tennessee
Governor Bill Haslam announced yesterday that he had reached a deal with Amazon that will require the online retailer to start collecting Tennessee sales tax in 2014 in exchange for 2,000 full-time jobs at new distribution centers. The Associated Press (via the Seattle Times) reported that Amazon "will invest $350 million in Tennessee. The site of two new distribution centers has yet to be decided."
"This agreement balances several needs--the needs of the company and the needs of the state--by providing certainty to Amazon and brick and mortar retailers," said Haslam, who has been forced to contend with tax promises made to Amazon by his predecessor in the governor's office, Phil Bredesen. "Pressure to come to better terms increased after Amazon agreed to begin collecting state sales taxes in South Carolina and California in the coming years," the AP noted.
Regarding the proposed agreement, ABA CEO Oren Teicher told Bookselling This Week that the "actions taken in Tennessee are incredibly disappointing. Amazon.com should be collecting state sales tax today, not in 2014. We strongly urge the Tennessee Department of Revenue to fairly enforce the sales tax laws of Tennessee by requiring Amazon.com to collect and remit sales tax."
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that Amazon "has already made job offers to 1,500 full-time workers and begun training for some of the new hires here. Amazon is also expected to place more giant warehouses, like the two $139.1 million facilities it is opening in Hamilton and Bradley counties, in Tennessee."
Paul Misener, Amazon's v-p of global public policy, called the agreement "a big deal for us," but insisted the sales tax collection issue "must be resolved in Congress. It’s the only way for the state of Tennessee to be able to obtain all the sales tax that can be collected."
General Retail Sales: Setting the Stage for Holidays
Retail sales in September were helped by bargain-hunting shoppers "as chains used deep discounts to clear out back-to-school merchandise ahead of the holidays," the Wall Street Journal reported, adding that even though results were better than expected, "the industry remains concerned about its prospects for the key year-end shopping season, when stress on consumers and weaker traffic are expected to blunt sales growth."
Thomson Reuters said sales at stores it tracks rose 5.1%, beating expectations for 4.6% and comparing favorably with 2.7% growth last year. Nonetheless, retailers are preparing for uncertainty ahead of the holiday season.
"Looking at consumer confidence, employment and stock-market volatility, I would think sales would begin slowing going into the holiday season," said Barbara Kahn, director of the Jay Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School. "That makes the holiday season itself hard to predict."
The New York Times reported that September "is considered a critical month for retailers because back-to-school shopping can indicate how consumers feel about the future." Top performers were Nordstrom, which rose 10.7% (beating expectations by more than 5%) and Saks Fifth Avenue's (up 9.3%). "Generally, stores that go after higher-end shoppers fared better than those focusing on middle- and low-end customers," the Times noted.
"One of the questions as we go into holidays, frankly, is where margins end up," Chris Donnelly of Accenture observed. "I think you're going to see more aggressive discounting to make sure they capture as much of the holiday sales as they can. And you've seen it in some of the folks that reported today, where they said sales have gone up but margin and average selling prices have gone down a little bit.”
B&N Closing Seattle U-Village Store
Barnes & Noble is closing its store at University Village in Seattle, Wash., the large, upscale shopping mall in the University district, according to the Seattle Times. B&N and the mall owner apparently were unable to come to an agreement on a new lease.
The 16-year-old store has 46,000 square feet of space on two levels and is one of B&N's largest stores. It's also the largest retail tenant at U-Village. B&N has a dozen other locations in the Seattle area.
Graphic Novel Wars: Fighting Kindle Fire with Fire
Drawing battle lines in graphic novels is nothing new, but now they have appeared outside the pages. According to Bleeding Cool, Barnes & Noble has responded to DC Comics's plan to release 100 graphic novels in e-versions exclusively on the Amazon Kindle Fire by instructing its stores "to remove all of the 100 graphic novels listed from the shelves, including Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Sandman, Fables, Blackest Night, All Star Superman, Y The Last Man, V For Vendetta, all strong sellers for the company."
Rooney New NAIPR Executive Director
In the herding cats department, Robert Rooney has been appointed executive director of the National Association of Independent Publishers Representatives. He was most recently v-p of sales for Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Rooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 888-624-7779.
Image of the Day: Reps on a Rampage
At Tuesday night's Rep Rampage, staff from the eight Copperfield's stores in Napa and Sonoma counties in northern California gathered in the Petaluma store for Rep Rampage, where they heard about picks from eight publisher reps (appreciatively in photo). The highlight of the evening was when Emma Schurman, a bookseller at the Sebastopol store, was told by Jim Hankey of HarperCollins that her shelf talker about Reamde by Neal Stephenson made it all the way back to the author. She then spoke about the book and author. "It was truly inspiring to see her enthusiasm and love of this author," Copperfield's director of events and promotions Katie Kasben wrote. "It made us all remember why we love selling books (and reading them)!"
Video That Doesn't Suck
"Welcome to the entertainment industry," Steve Stockman told Publishers Advertising and Marketing Association (PAMA) members gathered yesterday in a conference room at Random House's Broadway headquarters for a workshop based on his book, How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck. And in this field, he reminded his audience over and over, not sucking was an absolute requirement: "Wishful thinking is over and you are now in the age of entertain or die."
If you want an audience to give you their time, attention and money, said Stockman--director of hundreds of commercials, several music videos and the 2006 movie Two Weeks--you need to reward them with content that is entertaining and engaging. You need to tell a story, you can probably tell it in a lot less time than you think you need to tell it, and you should never do anything in any video that makes the author look bad. What do you do if the author isn't comfortable speaking in front of the camera, one listener asked; how do you make him comfortable? You don't, Stockman replied, falling back on a bit of life advice he'd picked up from Alf: "The secret to life is to learn what you don't do well and don't do it." Maybe the author could speak off-camera in voiceovers, Stockman suggested, or you could recruit other people to speak about the author or the book instead.
Nobody objected to Stockman's assertions about the importance of visual literacy, of knowing, for example, how effective composition and lighting or a focus on facial reactions can make for more compelling footage. When he spoke about the minimum standard of quality needed to compete against all the other videos online, though, suggesting that publishers should be prepared to budget at least $10,000 in production costs for each minute of video footage, there seemed to be some resistance. Stockman argued that a well-made video might be capable of reaching more readers than a multi-city book tour.
If publishers needed additional incentive to spend the money to get their video production right, he added, they should keep in mind that videos will soon have broader applications beyond promo clips, and he wasn't just thinking of the current spate of enhanced e-books. He encouraged book publishers to look at how magazines are incorporating video into their tablet apps: soon, video will stop being a special feature, and become just another background process--making it even more vital to deliver something that will hold people's attention. Even now, he added, if you look at the most popular videos on YouTube on any given day, the majority of them already demonstrate professional standards of filmmaking. "You are not up against amateurs," he repeated. "You're up against Beyonce and Lady Gaga." A tough battle, but perhaps, with the right skill set and the proper resources, not an impossible one. --Ron Hogan
Red Balloon Bookshop: Keeping the Magic Alive
Bookselling This Week profiled Holly Weinkauf and Amy Sullivan, new owners of the Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn. They purchased the bookstore from founder Carole Erdahl and business partner Michele Cromer-Poiré this summer (Shelf Awareness, July 25, 2011).
Weinkauf and Sullivan hope to maintain the Red Balloon's 27-year-old legacy while making small changes to "bring it forward and make it ours," said Sullivan. "We respect what it has been in this city for all these years, and we are honoring that and just [focusing on] what we can do to make it a sustainable business in the market now."
The booksellers expressed appreciation for the welcome they've received from their peers. "Other independent booksellers have been so warm and welcoming and generous with their ideas and support," said Sullivan. "I just can't believe how much time people have spent with us on the phone. The sense of community has been something that we didn't expect, but we are so happy to have found that and be embraced by it."
They are equally pleased by the welcome from the St. Paul community. "People were just so happy that we were able to keep it going," Sullivan noted. "With the economy the way it is, no one would have been surprised if they just closed it, but I think there is kind of a spirit and a commitment, a real love of the place, and we're trying to think about ways of making that part of the bookstore stand out."
Remarkable Women: Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen
In its Remarkable Person column, the Chicago Tribune profiled two remarkable women: Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen, founders and owners of Women & Children First. When the store opened in 1979, "they wanted to do more than just sell books," the paper wrote. "They wanted to showcase fiction by, about and for women; to provide a space that nurtured community; they wanted to educate. In the ensuing three decades, they succeeded."
Among interesting points:
In a sign of how much times have changed: Christophersen noted, "You could open a business on a relative shoestring in 1979. We had $14,000 between us, and when you don't have the capital you find ways to do things cheaply."
Asked about philosophy in business and life, Bubon said, "As I get older, my purpose is to live in the moment."
Asked about what advice they would give their teenaged selves, Christophersen said, "Not to worry. Things are going to be just fine." Bubon replied, "As a teenager, I thought my big life decision would be whether to be a nun or a wife, and once I decided I was not cut out for the convent … I spent a lot of energy trying to find a 'soul mate.' I worried way too much about relationships when it turned out that the most important relationship was with myself and my work."
Why Some Bookstores Close
In an intriguing post on the store blog at Between the Covers Rare Books, Gloucester City, N.J., bookseller Dan Gregory considered the implications of the "recent closing of two important American bookstores," Serendipity Books in Berkeley and the original Borders Books in Ann Arbor.
"Serendipity shut down because people don't live forever," Gregory wrote. "They age, and eventually they die. Regrettably, it's even on my to-do list. Peter Howard owned and operated a large shop with a large inventory, and employed a staff. But Serendipity Books was Peter Howard. He didn't make a provision for a successor to carry on the business. This was probably, like many of his decisions, a smart one. In his particular case (and in the case of many independent and antiquarian bookstores), it's unlikely anyone else could have stepped into his role and kept the shop operating in anything like the same fashion for any length of time."
Regarding Borders's closure, Gregory noted that the Ann Arbor bookshop "closed because it was tied, ball and chain, to a company which grew around it but devolved away from it. I suspect if it had remained an independent, like the Tattered Cover or Elliott Bay, it would still be in operation, as they are. But that's a 'what if' that we'll never know."
Gregory concluded that "owning and operating a bookstore has NEVER been an easy way to make a living. But booksellers are an obstinate and romantic lot. From their corps arise, from time to time, people with enough business sense to actually support their Quixotic dreams. Serendipity and Borders have closed, but independent bookstores like them will always be around."
YA Book Clubs: How to Spark Reading & Discussion
The secret to success for Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich., is "a great/popular book title, good outreach through schools, parents and promotion, and a fun night out with pizza and prizes," said Joanna Parzakonis.
At Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis., the YA book club "meets monthly and has a core group of five regulars, along with drop-ins. Participants' ages range from 13 to 16, and there are no snacks or prizes," BTW wrote. "They just meet and talk,” said owner Lanora Hurley, who added that patience was a key factor. "It took us a long time to build our club. The first time we held it, only two people showed up. It takes time for them to get to know each other, but it isn't something that happens overnight, or in one or two meetings."
Maggie Tokuda-Hall, who runs Not Your Mother's Book Club (NYMBC) for Books Inc., which has a dozen Bay Area locations, said, "What has helped make it so successful is finding the books and authors that teens are truly passionate about." She also noted that social media keeps members involved: "We have a very active Twitter account, and are able to keep conversations going all the time."
Pop-Up Bookstore of the Day: Numabookcat
A mobile pop-up bookshop shaped like a cat is the result of a second collaboration between arts collective NAM and Numabooks, a group of artists whose medium is the book. They teamed up earlier this year for Numabookface. The latest incarnation, Numabookcat, will be on display through October 30 at NADiff Window Gallery in Tokyo, Colossal reported.
Spoon and Tamago noted that for "4200 yen you have a little conversation with the host, who, based on those talks, will select 12 books for you. You will then get one book in the mail for an entire year."
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Jill Abramson on CBS' Sunday Morning
Sunday on CBS' Sunday Morning: Jill Abramson, author of The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout (Times, $22, 9780805093421).
Sunday on NPR's All Things Considered: Michael Krondl, author of Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert (Chicago Review Press, $24.95, 9781556529542).
Sunday on Fox's Geraldo at Large: Herman Cain, author of This Is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House (Threshold, $25, 9781451666137). The presidential candidate is also on Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on Monday.
Monday morning on Good Morning America: Hilary Duff, author of Devoted (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781442408555). She will also be on Ellen later in the day.
Television: The Magicians
Fox has preemptively bought The Magicians, a series adaptation of Lev Grossman's fantasy novel, "with a script commitment plus penalty," Deadline.com reported. Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class and Thor) are co-writing the script, which will be produced by Michael London (Milk), Shawn Levy and Michael Adelstein.
Twilight Redux: First Three Films Back in Theaters
Summit Entertainment and NCM Fathom will join forces to screen the first three Twilight Saga movies in 730 theaters nationwide for one night each in the weeks leading up to the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part I on November 18, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. The promotion is part of a fan-appreciation program called "Twilight: Saga Tuesdays."
The schedule includes Twilight on November 1, The Twilight Saga: New Moon on November 8 and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on November 15. According to THR, Fathom "also will present never-before-seen footage and new cast interviews as a part of the Tuesday screening series."
Books & Authors
Awards: British Fantasy Society Prize Returned
Sam Stone, who won the British Fantasy Society's best novel award for Demon Dance last Sunday at FantasyCon, gave back her prize yesterday after questions were raised about the fairness of the judging process, the Guardian reported.
"To put it bluntly, this year's results made a mockery of the British Fantasy Award and everything it has always stood for," said editor and anthologist Stephen Jones, who made several allegations against awards co-ordinator and British Fantasy Society chairman David Howe, claiming the awards were weighted toward the small presses rather than "mainstream" publishing. "Even if you ignore the embarrassing ceremony and clichéd platitudes, few of these awards actually reflected genuine quality or what is happening in mainstream genre publishing today."
Book Brahmin: Sophie Blackall
Sophie Blackall has illustrated more than 20 books for children, including the Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning Ruby's Wish; Meet Wild Boars, which won a Founder's Award from the Society of Illustrators; and the Ivy and Bean series. Her editorial illustrations have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and many magazines. Her new book is Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found (Workman, October 4, 2011). She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her family and a stuffed armadillo.
On your nightstand now:
I belong to a very indulgent book club for one, offered by Crawford Doyle booksellers in New York. In the beginning I furnished them with a list of favorite writers and fancies and obsessions, and every month I receive a beautifully wrapped, hand-selected book. By my bed I have Luc Sante's Folk Photography: The American Real-Photo Postcard 1905-1930, which I flip through when I'm too tired to read; Violette Nozière by Sarah Maza, which I have just opened; and We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen, which I finished a while ago but can't bring myself to put away because I loved it so much. All 678 pages of it.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The House at Pooh Corner. It's possibly still my favorite book.
Your top five authors:
I would find it easier to make a list of my five favorite books (Moby Dick, The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard, Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn). But I am not necessarily a fan of these authors' entire collective works. It follows then, that my favorite authors have not necessarily written my favorite books. My favorite authors in no particular order: Jane Austen, Meg Rosoff, E.M. Forster, Ian McEwan and Tim Winton.
Book you've faked reading:
Ulysses. I was trying to impress someone I had a crush on. I lost my page at one point, flipped back to find where I'd left off and not a single passage seemed familiar. Nothing. It was as though the book had rewritten itself in my absence.
Book you’re an evangelist for:
I have given away over a dozen copies of Maira Kalman's The Principles of Uncertainty. I think that might count as evangelism.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes. The physical book and the whole idea of a book cut from another book is awfully seductive. Unfortunately I haven't been able to concentrate hard enough to actually read it yet.
Book that changed your life:
Moby Dick. It's got everything: drama, adventure, taxonomy, household advice, recipes, love.... I became a little obsessed. I visited whaling towns in Massachusetts and actually carved a sperm whale into the trunk of a chestnut tree in the Tuileries in Paris, because there's a passage in the book which tells of a whale skeleton being excavated in the Tuileries from a time when it was all sea. I still hide a whale somewhere in all of my picture books.
Favorite line from a book:
"How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends." --Moby Dick
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Pride and Prejudice. One of the (many) delightful things about having children is watching them discover a book you have loved yourself. It's almost as good as reading it for the first time.
Book Trailer of the Day: The War of 1812
The War of 1812: A Guide to Battlefields and Historic Sites by John Grant and Ray Jones (Turner Publishing), which is the companion book for the PBS special The War of 1812, which airs Monday night, October 10, at 9 p.m.
Review: The Secret in Their Eyes
The Secret in Their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri (Other Press, $15.95 trade paper, 9781590514504, October 18, 2011)
On the afternoon of his retirement luncheon from the Palace of Justice in Buenos Aires, 61-year-old Ben Chaparro, the longtime deputy clerk in Examining Magistrate's Court No. 41, almost gets to the restaurant filled with his co-workers but stops without going in. Instead, he turns around and goes back to his office, surprising his secret love, Judge Irene, with a request to take with him his clunky old typewriter. He hopes to fill the emptiness of his retirement by writing a book--the story of the strange, tragic life of Ricardo Morales and his murdered wife.
This story-within-a-story begins when Chaparro was 28 and witnessed the aftermath of the love between a young bank teller and his beautiful schoolteacher wife, who was raped and strangled. Acting on a hunch after looking through some of the young widower's photos, Chaparro suspects the victim's childhood admirer and then compromises himself by tricking a foolish judge into illegally extending the fruitless investigation for the killer.
At the heart of the novel are two tragically intertwined love stories: Chaparro's 30-year suppressed love for Judge Irene and young Morales's consuming commitment to search for his wife's murderer. It's a novel about the writing of a novel, interspersed with chapters from the novel being written, with an ongoing commentary on what to include in the novel and what to omit as the two stories seamlessly converge.
Figuring it all out is part of the reading delight--not until midway through the book do you begin to realize who the actual detective in this mystery is, because it's certainly not the narrator, who by acting prematurely bungles capturing the killer and narrowly escapes death when his apartment is completely trashed. It all builds to a surprise revelation at the end that will haunt you for days.
Author Sacheri knows what not to tell, and the lovesick deputy clerk's helpless adoration of the judge is subtle and mysterious (which is not always the case in the film adaptation of this novel, which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film). Because he knows suppressed love, Chaparro can recognize it in the eyes of the killer. As angry, defiant old Chaparro concludes bitterly, "I guess when there are things you can't say, the words have to come out through your eyes." --Nick DiMartino
Shelf Talker: A retired civil servant feels compelled to write down the truth about a case 30 years old, when a murdered woman and her grieving husband led him to discover the terrible depths of the human heart.
Robert Gray: MPIBA Show--Partnerships, 'Unofficial Booksellers'
"I look around this room and see the people who have made my career," said Bruce Machart--author of The Wake of Forgiveness and soon-to-be-published Men in the Making--during the Author Banquet for Literacy at last weekend's Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association trade show in Denver, Colo.
"Find somebody who does what you do, and find out if they do it better," advised Neil Strandberg of the Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, at a panel about retail metrics.
"This is the one time we all get to legally plagiarize and steal from our colleagues," said moderator Andy Nettle of Back of Beyond Books, Moab, Utah, at the always well-attended "Best Thing I Did this Year" session for booksellers, where partnerships were mentioned frequently. Several people also said they had taken ideas from last year's discussion and put them into action.
Building partnerships with other booksellers, with suppliers, with authors, with libraries, with local businesses and communities--both online and offline--was at the forefront of many discussions during the show. The retail numbers game and numerous creative promotional ideas will be explored further in upcoming columns. They are unquestionably conversation starters. In Denver last week, they also were emblematic of the show's overall theme.
At a "Publishers--What's the 411" session, moderator Ruth Liebmann, director of account marketing at Random House, led a conversation about the ways in which booksellers can take advantage of the "blurring of the lines" in the book world to harness the passion and energy being generated by reading groups, teachers, librarians, bloggers and the myriad social networking connections that comprise an army of "unofficial booksellers."
A "Building Vibrant Partnerships with Local Libraries" panel generated considerable attention and buzz. "I do think a big theme of the conference was community building," said panelist and MPIBA president Meghan Dietsche Goel of BookPeople, Austin, Tex. "The great thing about that session was that while the three of us on the panel were all talking about specific approaches that had worked for us, we also had a number of people in the audience with their own experiences to share. We even had several librarian voices there who could speak specifically about how to best collaborate with those in their world.
"I think the lesson of the panel was that there really isn't one way to develop successful community partnerships because they ultimately reflect each of our individual communities. A lot of us in the room have found that by simply opening the door to those conversations and exploring how to pool our resources, our stores, our libraries and our local readers can really benefit."
Anne Holman of the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah, was also on the partnering with libraries panel. She noted that the "theme at MPIBA this year seemed to be relationship building; not just between the new executive director, new board members and new attendees. There's an eagerness to engage all kinds of other people in the business of bookselling. The panel I was on dealt with how to work together with libraries big and small, public and private, city and county to bring books and community together. Librarians and booksellers in the room were excited about new ideas to try and new relationships waiting to be forged."
For Daiva Chesonis, the show was an opportunity to build relationships for the first time as an owner after years as a book buyer. Ten months ago, she and Bobbi Smith purchased Between the Covers Bookstore, Telluride, Colo. (Shelf Awareness, December 13, 2010).
"We’ve attended MPIBA the previous three years, but this was our first show as owners," Chesonis observed. "Did it feel different? Yes. The congratulatory remarks sure felt good, even 10 months in, and our absorption levels seemed to go up a notch, as if we had sprouted ears all over our heads. These regionals are invaluable at any level of vested interest... and the post-sessions chit-chat over cocktails is like night school without notebooks. Viva la regionals!"
MPIBA executive director Laura Ayrey "found the conversations surrounding the 'unofficial bookseller' to be intriguing and of importance now more than ever. It's been said again and again, but with the closing of Borders stores in communities there is a stronger opportunity to capture those consumers. Original methods of communication have become so incredibly broad with social media and networking that within your own communities there are undoubtedly local bloggers, people with large Facebook & Twitter followings and even just local 'big mouths' that can be powerful advocates for your independent bookstores."
She was also pleased with the positive response to a pair of new programs--Bring On Your Books (BOYB), through which booksellers can have their membership fees waived if they permit the MPIBA to place book ads on their shop websites; and a new consumer facing website Buzzaboutbooks.org.
"In this ever-changing industry we have been focused on creating additional revenue streams to not only keep Mountains & Plains solvent (which we are), but to also find new ways to support and expand awareness for our stores," Ayrey observed. "We're pushing the boundaries of how we've operated historically and it's a very exciting time for MPIBA."--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)