Booksellers Forums End Next Week in LaVergne & San Antonio

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The American Booksellers Association's spring forum schedule comes to an end next week with gatherings in LaVergne, Tennessee, and San Antonio, Texas.

On Wednesday, April 28, ABA CEO Oren Teicher and COO Len Vlahos will lead a Booksellers Forum from noon - 2:00 p.m. at Lightning Source, Inc. (1246 Heil Quaker Blvd., La Vergne). All area booksellers are invited.

Booksellers are encouraged to come with questions and comments. Lunch will be served during the program. Following the forum, participants are invited to tour the Lightning Source facility, where they'll see Ingram's on-demand printing division in action.

Booksellers planning to attend are asked to RSVP to ABA Meetings and Planning Officer Jill Perlstein.

On Thursday, April 29, Teicher and Vlahos will moderate a Booksellers Forum as part of the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association's (MPIBA) two-day Regional Focus Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The forum and the Wi5 education session "Techniques and Tactics for Online Website Promotion" will be held at The Studio (adjacent to The Twig Book Shop) from 3:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. All ABA and MPIBA members are invited to participate in ABA's free program, which will be followed by a reception with author Rick Riordan at The Twig Bookstore. Booksellers are directed to the MPIBA website for complete program details, registration forms, and hotel reservation information.

Last week's forum participants offer good reviews

About last week's ABA Booksellers Forum program held in conjunction with MPIBA's regional focus meeting in Santa Fe, Jerry Brace of Brace Books & More in Ponca City, Oklahoma, said, "Any time that Len and Oren talk about ABA and what's offered, it's good." Brace added that he and his wife, Jean, "were both pretty not-informed about e-books ... so we felt we left with a better understanding.... It was certainly worthwhile."

Suzanne Droppert of Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, Washington, who participated in last week's forum in Lake Forest Park, Washington, said, "I always enjoy the questions asked by Len and Oren, that prompt other booksellers comments. I feel I learn so much from my fellow booksellers." Of the session "Techniques and Tactics for Online Website Promotion," Droppert said, "I have my handout in front of me now trying to apply all that was discussed. Yes. I already contacted Yelp a as business owner to get better information about the store on Yelp. Google webmaster -- I had no idea. Yes, always continuing to learn, or trying to at least, which is what I feel ABA provides me with, information/tools to use whenever I find the time."

"In addition to the finale of SCIBA's famed mashed potato bar (scrumptious), two presentations were extremely helpful," said Tom Ahern, owner of Latitude 33 Bookshop in Laguna Beach, about the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association's April 14 Schmooze Cruise II/Spring Meeting. "Wade Lucas of Random House, Tom Benton of Penguin, and Paul Cimusz of Baker & Taylor presented ideas on how bookstores can reach out beyond the walk-in customers to local businesses and other organizations to increase sales. There were lots of audience ideas here, too."

Of ABA's Booksellers Forum, held in conjunction with the SCIBA program, Ahearn added that participants "talked at great length on what was happening with e-books and e-readers."

Adrian Newell of Warwick's in La Jolla, California, said, "I thought the Spring Forum was great! I loved the venue, the Queen Mary, and I enjoyed spending the day with colleagues to get informed, refreshed, and energized. The sessions were informative -- starting with a presentation on building B-to-B revenue that was full of tips for generating more outside business, after which we enjoyed lunch while listening to Oren and Len address issues and concerns that indies are facing, such as e-books, e-readers, and Internet sales tax collection. [That was] followed by a great presentation by Len on techniques and tactics for online website promotion."

Participants at the SCIBA program "were fully engaged. The questions were good, the discussions lively, and the mashed potato bar was delicious!" said Newell.

Gary Colliver of Windows on the World-Books & Art in Mariposa, California, attended the session "Techniques and Tactics for Online Website Promotion," offered on April 18 in conjunction with the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Spring Gathering. "The big take-home," he said, "was how to use social media in promoting your store and website."

Neal Sofman of San Francisco's Bookshop West Portal reported that Bookseller Forum program offered "a lot of good information about how the ABA is helping its members keep up with technology, and how it is ensuring a place for us in e-book sales."

And, he added, "These forums are always good. NCIBA and ABA always put together great education."