Forum Program in SIBA Region on Monday

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The American Booksellers Association's 2006 Forum tour comes to the Southeast on Monday, February 13. The forum, organized in conjunction with the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), will be held at the Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, and will feature a SIBA membership session, the ABA forum, and the educational session "Creating a 'Buy Local' Campaign." All members of SIBA and ABA are welcome to participate in the free program.

ABA CEO Avin Domnitz and ABA COO Oren Teicher will be in Richmond for the meeting. The forum will be held over lunch, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The forum's format allows booksellers to ask questions, express opinions, and hear from colleagues. "Since we launched the forums, several years ago, they have consistently provided extremely constructive input from members," said Domnitz, "the forums have been indispensable in shaping new ABA programs and initiatives, for which we are very grateful. I encourage everyone to come and be heard."

ABA's forum format fosters discussion of regional and national issues affecting independent booksellers, and SIBA and ABA encourage bookstore owners to attend with staff members. The day's programming can help provide a broader perspective on how individual stores fit into the larger industry, provide valuable information, and serve as an opportunity to meet and talk with fellow booksellers.

ABA's education component at the SIBA meeting will detail what it takes to create community "Buy Local" campaigns. Running from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the panel will feature Linda Watson, executive director of Raleigh Unchained, the Raleigh Independent Business Alliance, and Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books & Music, a member of Raleigh Unchained.

Studies have shown that locally owned businesses have far greater beneficial impact on their communities than do national chains, and there is growing evidence that by working with other independently owned businesses in a community, bookstores can become more profitable. At the session, 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.

The program will also feature a SIBA Membership Session, which will run from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Booksellers 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.

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.