Bookseller Education Day Set for Thursday at BEA

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Once again, booksellers at BookExpo America will have the opportunity to attend a special day of educational programming designed specifically for them. Organized and sponsored by American Booksellers Association, the full day of bookseller education panels and seminars is set for Thursday, May 29, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Last year, when ABA's day-long bookseller education programming debuted at BEA in New York City, the panels and seminars were extremely well received.

This year, the focus will be on bookstore finances, management, and marketing, with sessions that integrate appropriate bookselling technology with proven in-store solutions. New this year will be a "What Are You Reading?" lunch for attendees, where the focus will be on sharing enthusiasm about great books with fellow booksellers.

The day will begin with four separate in-depth sessions for small and mid-size stores:

  • Budgeting & Monitoring Workshop
  • Technology as a Bookselling Tool
  • Time Management, and
  • Marketing

The newly revised financial session focusing on the issues of small and medium-size stores will introduce booksellers to a series of Excel worksheets that will enable them to integrate a system of financial controls, which will allow a bookstore owner/manager to predict performance -- and then measure outcomes against those predictions. The Budgeting & Monitoring Workshop will be led by ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz.

The technology session will offer an in-depth examination -- with live demonstrations -- of a bookstore's technology needs. Topics will include basic computer techniques; bookseller online discussion forums; the ABA Electronic Book Buyer's Handbook; reporting to the Book Sense Bestseller List; and the e-commerce solution for independent booksellers, The session will be moderated by Len Vlahos, Jeff Wexler, and Bill Cunningham of ABA.

"Creating Order Out of Chaos -- Staying Afloat in a World of Too Much to Do" is the title of the morning's session on time management. The workshop is designed to give booksellers insights and ideas on time, stress, and priority management, work/life balance, and self-management. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done (Viking Press) and founder of the David Allen Company, a management training and coaching company, will outline his ideas on how to get things done through stress-free management practices. There will be ample time to ask questions and share experiences.

The fourth morning session, on marketing, will focus on strategies and tactics that independent booksellers can use to gain a greater share of current customers' business and to attract new customers to experience the unique values of an independent bookstore. Tom Ehrenfeld, consultant and author on effective customer-relations strategies and growing a business, will share his insights and experiences from a wide range of retail businesses. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments on their experiences, as well as hear about the experiences of other booksellers. The session will be moderated by Michael Hoynes, ABA marketing officer.

Running concurrently that morning will be a special Large Store Seminar, "How to Control Payroll Expenses." For many owners and managers of large stores, the most pressing challenge to profitability is hiring and retaining good employees. At this seminar, Neil Van Uum, the owner of Joseph-Beth/Davis-Kidd, and other key store staff will address such questions as writing appropriate ads, interviewing candidates, training new employees, and, most critically, evaluating performance based on objective criteria. There will be opportunities at the seminar for an in-depth discussion of this key issue.

Following the "What Are You Reading Lunch?" -- which is scheduled from 12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. -- the program will offer a series of small-group discussions on key challenges in the bookstore. The discussions will be offered from 1:30 p.m. - 2:10 p.m., from 2:20 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., and, again, from 3:10 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Note: Each session will be repeated three times.

The scheduled discussions are:

  • A Sampling of the Best Operational Forms Used in Bookstores (moderated by George Kiskaddon of Builders Booksource, Berkeley, California; and Mark Nichols of ABA)
  • How to Delegate … and How to Maximize Staff Productivity (moderated by Neal Coonerty of Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California)
  • How to Integrate Used Books and Remainders Into Your Store Operations (moderated by Dee and Chuck Robinson, Village Books, Bellingham, Washington)
  • Top Ten Marketing Ideas to Make Your Web Site a Profit Center (with presenters Luanne Kreutzter, St. Helen's Bookshop, St. Helens, Oregon; and Len Vlahos, director of
  • How to Increase Your Store Security and Minimize Shoplifting

The special full day of ABA educational programming on Thursday, May 29 -- including morning and afternoon sessions, keynote speakers, and the "What Are You Reading?" lunch -- is $50 for ABA members ($30 for each additional ABA member) and $75 for non-ABA members ($50 for each additional non-ABA member).

Watch BTW for more updates on BEA programming, including special children's bookselling programs on Thursday afternoon, May 29, sponsored by ABA and the Association of Booksellers for Children and the Children's Book Council.

Click here for more information on BookExpo America and the ABA Convention and look for continued coverage in future issues of BTW.

(Publishers take note: From 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 29, there will be a "Book Sense Q&A for Publishers." The session will feature an update on Book Sense -- what the stores are doing and what you can do to reach them more effectively via Book Sense programs. We encourage anyone working at a publisher who wants to know more about Book Sense to attend. Facilitated by Mark Nichols, Jill Perlstein, Dan Cullen, and Meg Smith of the Book Sense marketing team.)