Booksellers Forum Tour Kicks Off in Virginia Next Month

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The American Booksellers Association's 2006 Forum Tour begins on Monday, February 13, at the Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia. The event, which features an education component, is being held in conjunction with the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), formerly the Southeast Booksellers Association, Bookseller Revival. All members of SIBA and ABA are welcome to participate in the free program.

The ABA's forum program format encourages discussion of regional as well as national issues affecting independent booksellers. In addition, ABA's CEO Avin Mark Domnitz and COO Oren Teicher will provide an update on the association's many programs and initiatives. Over the years, these forums have provided ABA with very constructive member input and have been indispensable in shaping future programs and initiatives of the association.

Added this year is a valuable education session detailing what it takes to create community "Buy Local" campaigns. The activities begin at 10:00 a.m. with the SIBA Membership Session, which runs until 11:30 a.m. Attendees will learn how SIBA can help market books and authors through The Spoken Word, the popular public radio series recorded at independent bookstores around the country. Other topics on the agenda are how Authors 'Round The South can help stores publicize events and how catalogs and the SIBA Book Awards can facilitate promotions and sales. The importance of participation in ABA's Book Sense program and of reporting to the regional bestseller list will also be discussed.

From 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. will be the ABA Bookseller Forum, which includes a complimentary lunch. Here is the opportunity to ask questions, express opinions, and share concerns with your bookseller colleagues. Domnitz and Teicher will answer questions and discuss many issues of concern to independent booksellers.

The education session "Creating a Buy Local Campaign," will run from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Not only do locally owned businesses have far greater beneficial impact on their communities than do national chains, there is growing evidence that by working with other independently owned businesses in a community, bookstores can become more profitable. Booksellers will learn how they can play a role in the creation of independent business alliances and in convincing more and more consumers to shop locally.

To adequately plan for handouts, lunches, and room assignments, ABA asks booksellers to contact Margaret Petrie at [email protected] or (800) 637-0037, ext. 6614, if they plan to attend. Booksellers are encouraged to contact ABA staff prior to the show with questions, suggestions, or comments. General questions and requests for information about the ABA/SIBA Bookseller Forum should be directed to Petrie.

Questions and requests for information about SIBA may be directed to Wanda Jewell at (803) 779-0118, [email protected], or visit

The Fountain Bookstore is located at Historic Shockoe Slip, 1312 E. Cary St., Richmond, VA 23219. (Directions are available at

For booksellers in the SIBA region who are unable to attend this event, ABA is also sponsoring an education program in Atlanta on Friday, March 17, in conjunction with the Atlanta Remainder Show.