April Begins With ABA Programs in Colorado and New York

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The American Booksellers Association will be holding a Booksellers Forum and Education Program in conjunction with the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association's (MPBA) Spring Meeting in Denver on Friday, April 1, and on Tuesday, April 5, in conjunction with the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) in Huntington, New York. All ABA and regional association members (owners and staff) are invited to attend the events, which include an educational component and an update on ABA programs and initiatives. ABA senior staff will answer booksellers' questions, and participants will come away from the meetings with a broader perspective on how their individual stores fit into the larger book industry.


MPBA's Spring Meeting will run from Thursday, March 31, to Saturday, April 2, at the Marriott Denver Tech Center. The regional has planned a rich mixture of sales reps' Pick o' the List presentations, simple exhibits, extended time for rep/bookseller meetings, educational seminars, and author events. The Regional Book Awards Banquet, a fundraiser for MPBA's literacy grant program, will be held on Friday evening.

ABA-sponsored events on Friday, April 1, begin with a Complimentary Continental Breakfast & ABA Booksellers Forum from 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. This is an opportunity to meet with ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz, COO Oren Teicher, BookSense.com Director Len Vlahos, and ABA Board member Cathy Langer of Denver's Tattered Cover Book Store to ask questions, express opinions, and receive an update on ABA programs and initiatives. Over the years, these forums have provided very constructive input from members and have been indispensable in shaping future programs and initiatives of the association. This is an opportunity to come and be heard.

Following the forum, ABA will offer "The 2% Solution" seminar, from 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. This session will examine the drivers of a bookstore's profitability and how they can be reworked to move a business to greater profitability. Specific suggestions regarding sales, gross margin, and total compensation and occupancy expenses will be provided. The ABACUS Study of independent bookshop operations showed that the average profitability of all respondents was a negative 1.4 percent. While moving from negative profitability to a positive two percent is a long journey, this seminar will help booksellers to begin drawing a road map. Former ABA President Chuck Robinson from Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, will be the presenter.

For booksellers already familiar with the principles of inventory management, Tattered Cover's Langer will present ABA's "Increasing Margin: An Advanced Course in Growing Your Bottom Line," on Friday, from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. This content-rich session will compare and contrast a profitable and unprofitable bookstore. A wide range of material will be covered, including controlling product mix, direct versus wholesale ordering, electronic ordering, early payment discounts, seasonal title ordering, and more.

For more information about the MPBA Spring Meeting, visit www.mountainsplains.org, or contact the regional's executive director, Lisa Knudsen, at (970) 484-5856 or [email protected].

For planning purposes, booksellers who intend to participate in ABA programming are asked to RSVP to Kristen Gilligan, ABA's associate director of programming and constituent groups liaison, at [email protected].

The Marriott Denver Tech Center is located at 4900 South Syracuse in Denver [(303) 779-1100].

Booksellers in Denver for the Spring Meeting can also take advantage of "Super Monday Market Day" on April 4, at the Denver Merchandise Mart. A wholesale market center for professional retail buyers and interior designers, the 841,000-square-foot facility houses showrooms of merchandise in the categories of gift, resort, collectibles, home furnishings, apparel and accessories for women, men, and children, western apparel and equipment, souvenirs, gourmet, decorative accessories, and carpeting. Information is available at (800) 289-6278, [email protected], or www.denvermart.com.


ABA's Spring Program will be held at Long Island, New York's Book Revue in Huntington on Tuesday, April 5, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Lunch is included.

The day begins with a two-hour educational session, "Renegotiating a Lease," at which real-world examples will be used to show how a savvy bookseller can create a plan for entering into a discussion about an existing lease. The material will show how to use ABACUS benchmarks to frame discussions with a landlord and will cover such issues as paying by the square foot vs. paying a percent of sales; why you need to begin a lease renegotiation well in advance of it becoming a necessity; and more.

Following lunch, at 12:30 p.m., will be the ABA Booksellers Forum. ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz, COO Oren Teicher, and Associate Director of Book Sense Marketing Meg Smith will provide an update on association programs and initiatives. Booksellers are encouraged to come and ask questions and express opinions.

From 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. will be the ABACUS Workshop. Booksellers who bring their fiscal 2004 financial statements will receive one-on-one help in completing the 2005 ABACUS survey, as well as a coupon for $50 off their next ABA dues renewal. The ABACUS study is helping all independent booksellers by establishing a standard against which a store's financial results can be measured.

The Book Revue is located at 313 New York Avenue in Huntington [(631) 271-1442]. Booksellers planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Kristen Gilligan at [email protected].

For more information about NAIBA, visit www.newatlanticbooks.com/, or contact NAIBA Executive Director Eileen Dengler at (877) 866-2422 or [email protected].